John D. Rockefeller, Jr., says that the “secret to success is to be the common duty uncommonly well.” From the very beginning of my professional career, I have constantly strived for excellence. I have demanded the best out of my students and myself and settled for nothing less. I have insisted on keeping up my standards in every thing I do, and this, as much as anything else has allowed me to achieve distinction in my field.
But, if you are satisfied with the cheap, shoddy or sloppy, if you are not overly concerned with quality in your work or your personal life, then you must expect to always end up at the back of the pack! People who are looking to get ahead and stay ahead are never satisfied to just do things as others do them, but always a little better. It is said that Daniel Webster made the best chowder in his state simply on the principle that he would not be second-class in anything.
I’ve always been more interested in quality than quantity. People try to do too much and not much of it very well. Poor quality cost American business millions of dollars every year. Blunder, carelessness, sloppy work has cost individuals even more dearly. Tragic accidents are often the result of inaccuracy and lack of thoroughness, as well as carelessness. To my way of thinking, carelessness, which may cost precious life, is as much a crime as deliberate criminal acts.
When you finish a job, you should be able to say of it, “that work can represent me, I’m proud of it and I’m willing to be judged by it.” Always do a job or task to the finish. It seems that we always stop just short of being excellent. Treat your work as if it’s sacred. It brings more value to your reputation and you bring value to your “self” by doing it to the finish in an excellent fashion. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
Copyright Mack Newton. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.