Excellence Is a Habit

I mean, I get it. A lot of you have likely grown tired of the motivational posters over the years. After getting bombarded on social media with inspirational quotes placed against inspirational backgrounds, many of these words have started to lose all meaning. Even so, when you are willing to glean the lessons they contain within and apply them to your everyday life, you may find that you actually have a lot to gain.

One of my personal favorites goes a little something like this:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

It’s a quote that has been shared far and wide, most commonly attributed to Ancient Greek philospher Aristotle. Except Aristotle never said it. The words were actually originally published in English in 1926 in a book called “The Story of Philosophy” by Will Durant. Go figure. To be fair, Durant’s words were meant to be a summary of Aristotle’s teachings.

Consistently Excellent

So, what does a misattributed philosophy quote have to do with the business of making money online? Whether the actual words came from Aristotle or Will Durant, the lesson still holds true. If you want to achieve success, if you want to be excellent at what you do, then you need to make excellence a habit. It’s not a one-time act that you perform. You can’t just be excellent once, rest on your laurels, and sit idly as wheelbarrows of cash and accolades come pouring in your direction.

It’s true that I’ve written before how the ultimate goal of the dot com lifestyle is to remove yourself from your online business. I’ve also talked about how it’s not about putting in the hours, but rather figuring out how you can put in fewer hours and yet make more dollars. You need to get out of the employee mindset if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.

You need to develop a different set of habits.

An Overnight Success

If you’re expecting to start a blog today and rake in thousands of dollars tomorrow, you’re in for a rude awakening. If you’re looking for a get rich quick scheme, you’re probably going to be disappointed. If you’re hoping for an overnight success, you’re probably overlooking the monumental glacier that exists below the surface. If you want to be excellent, you have to put in the work.

And you also have to recognize that excellence and success are in no way guaranteed, nor should they be. If they were, everyone would already be successful and we’d have nothing to work toward.

At this point, after writing on the Internet for nearly 20 years, the physical act of “blogging” comes naturally to me. Once I have a good idea in my head, I can sit down at the keyboard and let my fingers fly. Some blog posts are better than others, most assuredly, but it’s monumentally easier doing this today than it was years ago. Writing was a habit, because for a number of years on Beyond the Rhetoric, I blogged daily. And I wrote upwards of 20 or more news posts for a tech site every day too. I wrote a lot. I made it a habit.

But of course, there’s always room for improvement.

Even though I’ve had a YouTube channel for years, it was only in the last couple of years that I applied any sort of structure or routine to it. The net result was a total of 100 weekly vlogs in a row, without missing a beat, before I decided to take a break. That’s nearly two years of content, released on a regular, consistent and predictable schedule. Some vlogs were better than others, some got more views, but I made it a habit.

Habitual Excellence

Whether you want to get into blogging, Internet marketing, affiliate marketing, app development, or any number of other possible ventures, make it a habit. If you say that you’ll work on it “when you have free time,” it’ll inevitably fall to the wayside and be forgotten. If you want to be successful, if you want to be excellent, it needs to be a priority. It needs to be a habit.