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Excellence

  • Excellence encourages one about life generally; it shows the spiritual wealth of the world.

  • This is excellence — the following of anything for its own sake and with its own integrity ...

    • Freya Stark,
    • "Decadence, or the Bed of Procrustes," The Arch of the Zodiac ()
  • Excellence costs a great deal.

  • Every activity performed in public can attain an excellence never matched in privacy; for excellence, by definition, the presence of others is always required.

  • Once you know the difference between all right and exceptional, all right no longer seems good enough.

  • The mediocre always feel as if they're fighting for their lives when confronted by the excellent.

  • I did some excellent things indifferently, / Some bad things excellently. Both were praised, / The latter loudest.

  • The excellent becomes the permanent.

  • People are not the best because they work hard. They work hard because they are the best.

  • ... it is more to my personal happiness and advantage to indulge the love and admiration of excellence, than to cherish a secret envy of it.

    • Elizabeth Montagu,
    • letter (1774), in Anna Letitia Le Breton, Memoir of Mrs. Barbauld ()
  • We want our children to fit in and to stand out. We rarely address the conflict between these goals.

    • Ellen Goodman,
    • "Admission Tests to Adulthood," in The Washington Post ()
  • We only do well the things we like doing.

  • ... a masterpiece doesn't so much transcend its time as perpetuate it; it keeps its moment alive.

  • Excellence in any pursuit is the late, ripe fruit of toil ...

  • Excellence in life seems to me to be the way in which each human being makes the most of the adventure of living and becomes most truly and deeply himself, fulfilling his own nature in the context of a good life with other people.

  • Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be an anarchist, be a religious fanatic, be a suffragette, be anything you like — but for pity's sake be it to the top of your bent.

    • Violet Trefusis,
    • in Mitchell A. Leaska, ed., Violet to Vita: The Letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West 1910-1921 ()
  • Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do best.

    • Marva Collins,
    • "Marva Collins: Teaching Success in the City," Message ()
  • One of the greatest satisfactions one can ever have, comes from the knowledge that he can do some one thing superlatively well.

  • I don't know that there are any short cuts to doing a good job.

  • Good enough never is.

    • Debbi Fields,
    • in Harriet Spiesman, Debbi Fields: The Cookie Lady ()
  • I am here, and you will know that I am the best and will hear me. The color of my skin or the kink of my hair or the spread of my mouth has nothing to do with what you are listening to.

    • Leontyne Price,
    • in Michael Walsh, "What Price Glory, Leontyne!" Time ()
  • We don't have to do it any better than we can — ever. Do our best for the moment, then let it go. If we have to redo it, we can do our best in another moment, later.

  • Striving for excellence is a positive quality. Striving for perfection is self-defeating.

  • Doing your best is more important than being the best.

  • It's a great challenge to be better than your opportunities.

  • Excellence, to me, is the state of grace that can descend only when one tunes out all the world's clamor, listens to an inward voice one recognizes as wiser than one's own, and transcribes without fear.

    • Naomi Wolf,
    • in Lorne Adrian, ed., The Most Important Thing I Know ()
  • The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous.

  • Can you know excellence if you've never seen it? Can you know good if you have seen only bad?

  • Eventually it comes to you: the thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely ...

  • You're only as good as your last story.

  • You're really never competing against anyone but yourself ... trying to get the very finest performance out of you. There are endless rewards for all of us. You are not taking anything away from anybody else when you are good.

  • A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between her work and her play, her labor and her leisure, her mind and her body, her education and her recreation. She hardly knows which is which. She simply pursues her vision of excellence through whatever she is doing and leaves others to determine whether she is working or playing. To herself she always seems to be doing both.

    • Anonymous,
    • in Sophy Burnham, For Writers Only ()
  • Then give to the world the best you have, / And the best will come back to you.

  • I have found that my absolute best is the best possible outcome. ... The beauty of it is that it is totally within your control. You can always give your absolute best effort regardless of physical state or circumstance. That, to me, is always a win.