What is the Difference between Success and Excellence?

What is the difference?

Perhaps it was because today is Easter, perhaps it was the pint of Arrogant Bastard Ale that I downed the night before. Or by some other universal, giant hand of fate, I noticed today just doing my morning internet browsing, a lot of hits on affirmation sites, success blogs, and self-improvement pages. Since the new year I’ve taken an interested in this types of sites – part of my resolutions of bettering myself as a man and as a participant in this world’s society at large. I’ve subscribed to the sites Addicted2Success and Pick the Brain so far and they have been pretty good.

All this talk about self improvement has brought me back to an event that happened during the first week of high school. It was a special language arts class that (or rather my parents) had me take because it was a class where all the A-students were going into. I still remember the special name that the class had: “9th Grade Seminar”.

As I mentioned before it was the class where all the high rollers were, the freshmen were fast tracked – or wished to be fast tracked – into the top 10% of their academic studies. Looking back at my days in that class I felt incredibly out of place given my previous grades and experience – despite my high grades the previous year. Perhaps it was my background. My personality? Perhaps it was due to the fact that I hadn’t discovered my personal strengths then (and as the future has revealed – they wouldn’t be discovered for a very long time).

I can still remember it – 13 years later – the question that was presented by the teacher. An old, cat loving, single, 60-something lady that went by the name of Ms. Stimson. I think in a past life she was a Catholic nun since she always seemed to have a ruler in her hand ready to whack any inattentive and “lazy” students who weren’t doing what she told them to do. Unfortunately for me I was one of those students.

Back to the topic. The very first question she gave the class was this:

What is the difference between success and excellence?

For the life of me I have forgotten what I wrote. But with a reasonable amount of certainty I can say my answer now would be somewhat similar to my answer then.

Success to me is the one time accomplishment. Something that you have worked for X amount of time, with X amount of resources to accomplish said task. Excellence on the other hand is a repeating series of successes. Once a habit of excellence is established, the next level of success is then obtained, therefore starting a new level of excellence.

It is my hope that one day I can fulfill this definition of excellence and success. And keep on doing it. So far I’m just starting my own process of excellence. It has been slow going, but I’m hoping it goes well. For now I’d like to include a post from the site Addicted2success: 5 ways to destroy the illusion of fear. Hope you enjoy it.

So, what is the difference between success and excellence?

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