The pursuit of excellence is a privilege. The idea of marshaling your mind, your body, your heart, your spirit toward an ambitious goal of achieving beauty, grace, and elegance—calling forth the best of yourself in pragmatic day-to-day toil—is exceptional.
I’ve devoted most of my life considering excellence in human endeavors. Somewhere, deep in the hallways of my philosophy of Life, I still wonder about the big questions of the cosmos, but I boil down Life’s meaning in terms of how we use our lives, how we use our gifts. It seems we can either pass time between our birth and death, accomplishing little, or we can work to make new distinctions in human endeavors, contributing to our fellow men and women. I’ve chosen the latter, guided by the principles of excellence.
My career has spanned many human endeavors—writing, art, music, design, business, filmmaking, architecture, and more—and I was fortunate to spend a good portion of time wondering about what it means to be an artist in the world. By artist, I mean a painter, musician, writer, dancer, sculptor, architect, but the same guidelines of excellence apply to anyone in the exchange of values between a worker (or company) and his audiences. In this sense, a business producing a service is like a dance company producing a dance or an artist producing a painting. . . .