Propelled By Excellence
By Dr. William K. Larkin on July 30, 2012
We are most propelled by our association with the best and with excellence. It speaks most to the creative human spirit, and we easily find ways to be our own better and better and then best selves.
Our encounter with what is positive is like our encounter with what is excellent. It moves us forward, it moves along the path of becoming more essentially the best of our nature. It causes us to move in the direction of aligning with what most motivates and inspires us.
Excellence is like transcendence. We forget ourselves in the encounter with excellence and we forget our limitations. Excellence is something like being one with the music. It gets us to think in tune with our own inner better and best.
Where do you seek out excellence? Where do you seek out the best? Where do you expect, if not demand, to experience what is the top of the top?
The current Olympics are an experience that is something like that. We see and experience moments of excellence that move us beyond ourselves, perhaps even to tears. Competition moves athletes to perform at a level of excellence. What the athletes will experience is also a oneness with their competitors. Some will move beyond medals and national identification and realize that only split seconds have separated gold from silver and bronze, or no medal at all. Some will set new world records that will move the mark really only seconds further. But it is always moving forward and further.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the winning athletes mount the varying levels of the medal award platforms, that were, in fact, on the same level and find flags of the world over their heads hanging at the same level and listen to the same world anthem?
The bottom line is that we are watching excellence shrouded in the trappings of nationalism for the sake of creating a greater sense of the oneness that excellence can create.
It is often competition and achievement that shrouds this deeper need for what is excellent. What these athletes encounter, at some point, is that experience goes beyond the desire “to win.” It becomes the desire for excellence.
We are not made for mediocrity. There is an inner restlessness that moves us toward more and greater experiencing. We are not made for a tepid experience of life.
We are somehow created to experience richness and abundance and fulfillment of desire. And if we do not, if we fight it and insist on sameness, orneriness and disease will take us out.
Our rub with excellence causes us to want more, to be more, to know more, to understand more, to encounter and experience what is better, better and best.
Just one example. The world’s encounter with excellence in the products of Apple has created 600,000 apps and the uses are still pouring in. When you create excellence and put it in the hands of people, creative excellence results.
We are always moving in a helioptropic ascendance to the light of better, better, best - to excellence and to the diverse and multitude of ways that it can be experienced. As much as we lobby in our lives for sameness, familiarity and safety, we are driven beyond it.
We are all moved to “feel good” and we are also moved to feel better and better, and to feel our “best.” Anything less than our “best,” however that is experienced by us subjectively, is not satisfying. We experience it as boredom, ho-hum, or tepid. There are times when we need to be left alone by the desire for better, better, best, and excellence.
It leaves us alone for periods of time so that we can catch up, catch our breath, or just rest. But these periods do not last until we again become restless for more of what is better and best. We are just made that way. We are always moving toward the positive experience from which we create new things or new thought.
It is not so much that the brain is made to think so much as it exists to evolve toward what is better. How are you cooperating?
CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COACHES
1) Describe how your ANI training has propelled you to the practice of “better, better, and best.” What research and tools have awakened in you the personal pursuit of excellence? How do you presently define excellence for yourself? Tell us your story and give us personal examples.
FOR OUR LARGER BLOG COMMUNITY
1) Describe a situation when you felt that you were at your “personal best.” Reflecting on this experience, what did you come to believe about yourself? Your natural strengths and talents? Recounting this experience, what emotions best capture how you were feeling then, and how you feel now as you recall it?
chivalry57 wrote on Thu Aug 2nd, 7:59pm:
I know for myself I have to know what I want to have, where I want to be and
how I want to be I feel. Having the tools of ANI has made my 5 five 5 years
goals more concrete, meaningful and more achievable. It is like finally
having my own mentor in a pocket. As I wrote in my previous Blog, you can not cheat, lie, steal…no short cuts. Do the work because a prepared mind becomes
a lucky mind.
I’ve learn in my life and with my business “If you strive to go beyond ones
expectations, including yourself, you will always be enriched.” This is my
way of enjoying my journey to better, better, best…to “excellence”.
Katherine wrote on Sat Aug 4th, 12:11pm:
I have been working with the tools and techniques for staying in the UpSpiral since January this year. One of the most inspiring aspects of what I have discovered is what my 10 top strengths are. According to Dr. Larkin (GTPM pg. 61), “Our weaknesses change very little over a lifetime. Our strengths, which when identified and validated, are infinitely malleable”, which turns out to be the second most important concept I have learned. For the majority of my strengths I was able to immediately see them in myself and come up with ways in which I have been successful by using them. However, I also discovered my strengths overlap and complement each other. For instance, my Learner, Input and Strategic strengths all work together.
An example of achieving excellence for me is in an area I am responsible at work. One of my responsibilities is to manage a team for the purpose of retaining our customers. I enjoyed the process of learning more about the program, processes and procedures when I first took it on (Learner). I used my strength of Input drives me to learn more and dig deeper. Finally, my Strategic strength supports my ability to identify what can be done to make a positive impact on the status quo. The end result has been an increase in our retention rates that exceed any other time in our company’s history. Now that is “excellence.”
My strengths work as a foundation in which I can become better, better and best.
Steve D wrote on Sat Aug 4th, 1:38pm:
Contuining from last week’s post I knwo with certainty I am at my personal best now usuing my strengths every day, reinforcing what I want most in life: to experience an abundance of gratitude, peace, love, joy, inspired hope and child-like innocence. There has been a relentless pursuit of personal healing that has now softened to acceptance of life on life’s terms; being one with the universe and allowing what “is” to simply “be”. I have become aware the power I have within my mown mind to create miracles, to shift my thoughts, stories and beliefs to positive stories that serve my well-being. I dont’ have to carry the “past” with me. I flow through the day with the tools of pulsing, music that inspires me, a focus on one fo the “6 visionary values” (stated above), prayer, meditation, reflection, a stron support network of professional guides, mentors, and friends. I have surrounded myself with people that will help me reach my full potential and I have aligned my thoughts accordingly. No more “I want only blue skies”... I want to experience the richmness oflife with all the clouds, the rain,t he thunder , the wind,,,to feel the joys and the sorrorws and to find the gifts in all life’s experiences.
neuromind wrote on Sun Aug 5th, 4:57pm:
What has inspired me includes learning my top 10 strengths (from VIA and Gallop) and the research from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow) and Barbara Fredrickson (Positivity). I am using this knowledge on a daily basis. For example I printed out the elements of Flow experiences, and use it in my coaching sessions as an educational tool, and I will use research from Positivity to create an upcoming training.
In Growing the Positive Mind, p. 64, Dr Larkin writes “We are a culture driven to believe that we have to work on our weaknesses and become a balanced, well-rounded person. At the cost of giving the attention to what is good in us and growing our real potential, we spend countless hours and lots of dollars on trying to fix what is wrong.”
I started with ANI in January of this year and I see that I’m actively engaged in the pursuit of personal excellence. As I direct my mind (SOMM) and focus on what I want, and let go of being driven, I find that I am more creative… I have more energy. Work is more joy-full and I am in Flow more often. Shifting my focus from be DRIVEN, to inspired and flowing… has opened me up to new possibilities. For example this month I was able to create more trainings in less time, and continued to receive the highest scores from my clients. It’s interesting to see that I am accomplishing more, in less time, and enjoying the process more. Using my strength of Strategic, I’m noticing patterns, identifying client needs, and creating programs that support my clients upspiral living.
Watching the Olympics I’ve been inspired to create an additional training for my clients that will address their interest in successful career transition as well as weave together lessons from Olympians and the research that supports neuropositivity. I feel alive, engaged, and am enjoying the creative process in the pursuit of excellence.
Medman wrote on Mon Aug 6th, 8:03am:
Searching for the best instead of knowing that I am ther best. Coming outnof the sto9rm and walking into paradise. Findings ones sweet spot. The strengths the zone the inspired place. Being able to work right there and experience success and build upon that. Catching the cofidence of knowing one’s self and embracing what is good. Tapping into me. My strengths were calling but I was to busy fixxing my weaknesses that I missed the boat. Wake up your life is calling and all you have to do is answer the phone. What are you focusing on and where does that take you? I have learned to sail my own ship and to chart the course not allowing the storms of others peoples lives to affect my destination. I know that inside of me there is something so great and powerful waiting for me to tapp into it. So the power that i see in other people is also available in me. I have everything i need to be everything i choose to be in this life. Nothing is out of reach. We define the limits and we define our success with the mode and the quality of thinking that we are investing in. To end with a a well known phrase: Rather you think you can or think you can’t either way you are right.
Jeannine wrote on Mon Aug 6th, 8:41am:
I was asked to be the lecture committee chairperson for an organization I belong to. The second year I did this, I felt that is was important that everyone on the committee was included in the planning process. My husband and I love the outdoors, so we decided to have the lecture in a cabin at a lovely park. The lecturer decided that he would talk as we hiked to a beautiful waterfall. Though I had a vision, everyone involved felt included in the planning. It turned into this wonderful event where many of the people on the committee and in the organization expressed how they were inspired and moved and it seemed to spark commitment to the goals of the organization. I felt that my attention to detail, openness and receptivity to new ideas, and my love for others really helped to make this a memorable and meaningful event. Now I know that I was using my strengths “Fairness, equity, and justice” “Capacity to love and be loved” “Achiever” and “Adaptability” to make this a special occasion for all involved. I felt that I strove for excellence and all my efforts produced something beyond what I or others involved imagined.
Medman wrote on Mon Aug 6th, 9:43am:
In one of the many discussions with Dr, Larkin, he shared something that was so powerful. He said that all of the studying and the books that we read will set us apart from others. I believed that the moment he said that. I started out looking for an simple answer but I have long passed a simple answer and I have become a student of life. The lessons the books and the experiences all leading me somewhere. Not getting to tied down in how i think things should appear but to being open as to who and the what that shows up. Knowing that everything is on point I dont have to push the boat my job is to just enjoy the ride.
RebeccaE wrote on Mon Aug 6th, 6:19pm:
The time in my life that I feel was my strongest personal best was when I had to go through a recovery program. It a powerful time in my life where everything fell into place and I achieved everything that was asked of me and had recovered things in my life that I had lost for many years. Week after week, month after month was filled with success and soon I became a very strong person that felt like I could do anything and I did.
Fiat Lux wrote on Mon Aug 6th, 7:21pm:
I strive for excellence every day in everything that I do. I am NOT a perfectionist…far from it. My version of excellence revolves around the adherence to three basic principles: Right Thought, Right Speech: Right Action. If I align with these three basic behaviors, I find that I maintain a level of integrity in my interactions with others that are based in trust, goodness and a concern for all parties involved.
Now I fall out of alignment more than I care to mention. But if I partner my strengths with this set of precepts, most things work out magnificently. Life is easy…I am happy and my vibe-core is high.
Excellence in my book is not about competition, though the Olympic athletes are quite inspiring. It is about helping my spirit soar and helping those around me ride the wave of passion, purpose and deep meaning to create an inspiring and well lived life.
Mary Garvey Horst wrote on Tue Aug 7th, 10:06am:
I would have to start with the “post-it” note exercise as the ANI training technique that began to wake me up to “better, better, best”. The invitation “to want, to desire, to have” as offered in the “post-it” note exercise opened up a place inside of me for MORE. The previously unexamined MORE presented itself as the possibility for greater opportunities, unexplored dreams, new horizons, and adventures of self-expansion. All of a sudden, the bar had been raised to allow for MORE. Whatever former beliefs that had been operating within myself to set a limit for what I could invite into my life was called into question. I was being invited to let go of those self-imposed limits. How amazing! What was equally amazing was that I chose to do so.
I would have to say that the “post-it” note invitation represented for me the ESSENCE of the ANI training for me to be able to ask for more of myself, of others, of happiness, of life. Everything that I have learned in the ANI training has propelled me to the practice of “better, better, and best.” I have come to embrace this invitation as coming not from ANI, but as my divine “birth right”. It is coming directly from the ESSENCE of who I am. I will be forever grateful to Drs. Larkin and Johnson for mirroring this Truth to me.
livestrong81 wrote on Sun Aug 12th, 12:52pm:
I enjoy the structure of the ANI Training to grow and develop ourselves personally and professionally. The ANI Training such as the Emotional Gym, Gratitude Exercises and Strengths has been the most powerful for me because it gives me direction to move from and grow from. I have a goal to “feel good” most or all of the time and now look for ways to put myself in situations that will bring out my strengths and do things that I enjoy.
My personal excellence is involved in focusing on what I am good at. Taking both the VIA and Gallup strengths tests has given me 10 areas to focus on and strengthen. My goal is study and develop these strengths over a long period of time and eventually after 20+ years to get to a genius level with them. With this in mind every day, it effects my decisions long term and short term. I seek ways to use my strengths and to develop myself.
I have never been much of a competitor in sports settings, but watching the Olympics has inspired me to develop my natural skills and to get a coach to work with me to reach my goals. Having accountability and having someone coach me to reach my goals just as professional athletes do, seems like a no brainer in having a successful, growing path of personal and professional growth.
I agree so much with Dr. Larkins statement: “We are not made for mediocrity. There is an inner restlessness that moves us toward more and greater experiencing.” We are meant to become incredible human beings and seek out ways to stay on a path for growth!
gabenza wrote on Wed Aug 15th, 1:15pm:
This February I was at a dance weekend. I had made it to the finals in the Newcomer Division in a West Coast Swing dance contest. That night after competing I asked someone to dance. The music was so fast I said I would take a rain check if he wanted too. He wanted to dance, and boy did we dance! This was possibly the best dance of my life! I did not know I could dance that good! We were in tune with the music and with each other. We were in the flow.
With those two experiences that night I came to believe that I am a better dancer than I thought I was. I realized that if I continued to practice and learn I could do even better next time. I now see that I was utilizing my natural talents and had been for years. Many people tell me you have to have a dance partner to practice with, to get really good at dancing. I have not had a dance partner, except for brief periods of time. I used my positivism and practiced by myself. I have been doing that for the last seven years. No wonder I could do so well competing against women much younger than myself! I can see that when I use my strengths that things come easier. I feel really lucky to have the the strengths that I have. It is so much fun to use them as they come together for such a fun thing like dancing. That is how dancing became a talent for me.
I felt thrilled and elated to know I had made it to the finals, and thrilled and joyful to have such a wonderful experience after wards. It was definitely the best dance of the evening! I don’t need something external such as a contest to have these wonderful feelings and experiences! I feel gratitude, joy, and inspired when I think of that night.
RebeccaE wrote on Wed Aug 15th, 6:33pm:
Gratitude is one of my top five strengths and pulling gratitude from inside during the emotional gym has become easier every day. The feelings of happiness are immediate and it makes me smile just thinking of how wonderful my life is and how much I have to be thankful for. My life is full of joy, laughter, happiness and of course gratitude. I am enjoying this training and am excited for what is yet to come.
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