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”Excellence Is An Art Won By Training And Habituation

Excellence is an art won by training
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“”Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”” -Aristotle

Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.E) was an ancient Greek philosopher known for his wide range of knowledge in science and social science. He is credited as the Father of Logic because of his emphasis on logical reasoning combined with scientific methods. His body of works were influential and groundbreaking that Aquinas dubbed him “The Philosopher”. The success of Alexander the Great was largely attributed to the counsel of his tutor Aristotle.

Aristotle believed that good reasoning and intellectual virtue are the ingredients for a well-lived life. He found happiness and satisfaction in expanding his curiosity and making new discoveries until his last days. Most importantly, he devoted his life in expanding the barriers of human reasoning. Like Plato, he knew the importance of moulding the minds of the next generation as a way of safeguarding knowledge. Before he died, he founded a school of learning known as the “Lyceum”.

His extraordinary intellectual capacity was a product of habit. In this quote, he emphasized the importance of practice and devotion as a necessary factor for excellence. He was the kind of teacher who attributed his students’ success to habit, not genes or social status. He was a firm believer of the people’s capacity to change their stars and become an enlightened human being.

Undoubtedly, Aristotle was not the only believer of excellence through habit.

“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.” ― Charles Dickens (Victorian Era novelist)

“Excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude.” – Ralph Marston (American writer)

“There is no excellence without labor. One cannot dream oneself into either usefulness or happiness.” – Liberty Hyde Bailey (American scientist)

Excellence is a product of endless sharpening and moulding of skills. Take habit out of the equation and you’ll end up with mediocrity.

“Don’’t Be Distracted By Criticism

Don’t be distracted by criticism
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““Don’’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar

Hilary Hinton Ziglar (1926 – 2012), or popularly known as “Zig Ziglar”, was an American writer known for his widely successful inspirational books and motivational seminars. His books have been used as a powerful tool for spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth in many areas of life. He had travelled the world as a bestseller and gained further international recognition through the broadcasting media.

Zig Ziglar’s life was an interesting story. Ten days after his birth, he was pronounced dead but miraculously came back to life. He belonged in a big family of 12 siblings but lost his sister a few days after the death of his father. He described his childhood as tough, having witnessed his widowed mother left with the burden of raising 6 small children. Despite that, he considered this difficult stage as the cornerstone of his motivation.

He served the Navy during the World War II for two years. A year later, he got married to Jean Abernathy. He was a salesman in several companies where he learned about the important skills on being a valuable employee. He became successful in his field and used his experiences to help other people achieve success.

Zig Ziglar had made a big name for himself but he was not always the successful, famous author and speaker. In his books and speeches, he mentioned about being criticized and underestimated in his career and daily life. But unlike most people, he did not let criticisms destroy his sense of self-worth. Instead, he constantly worked on improving himself for his own growth. In his talks, he emphasized on treating criticisms as an opportunity for growth, no matter how painful and soul-shattering they are.

Several significant personalities had also left valuable and similar thoughts on criticism:

“Criticisms may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill (Nobel Prize winner in Literature and British’s greatest wartime hero)

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” – John Wooden (Six-time national coach of the year and ten-time NCAA national championship winner)

“Don’t pay attention what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” – Andy Warhol (renowned artist and a leading figure of pop art)

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle (Greek philosopher and the first genuine scientist in history)

Every time you get bummed out by criticisms, just remember that handling them is the first step to success.

Civilisation Is To Hold Mutual Affection And To Respect Each Other

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“Civilisation is neither to have electric lights, nor airplanes, nor to produce nuclear bombs. Civilisation is not to kill human beings, not to destroy things, nor to make war; Civilisation is to hold mutual affection and to respect each other.” – The Most Ven. Nichidatsu Fujii

Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii (1885 – 1985), or “Guruji” , was a Japanese Buddhist monk who founded the Nipponzan Myohiji Buddhist Order at 1981. He strengthened Buddhism in India and spread the doctrine around the world. In 1933, he met Mahatma Gandhi and joined him in his peaceful protest against the British. He is known for his Peace Pagodas and Peace Walks around the world in a time of worldwide conflict.

Guruji chose to be a Buddhist monk at the age of 19 despite the tremendous pressure of signing up for the armed forces. During his life as a monk, he realized his role in the society: to spread peace through the Japanese prayer “Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo” which means “to devote oneself”. He travelled where there is chaos and urged people to join him in marching and chanting the Japanese prayer of peace with the beat of a drum.

He lived in an era plagued with riots, bombings, and genocides. He used his wisdom and influence as a monk to educate the world of the Practice of Non-confrontation, chanting words of peace instead of dispute. Like Gandhi, he used hunger strike to express his opposition against the war in Japan. He believed that the true origin of war is the result of spiritual dissatisfaction that robs men of conscience and humanity. He strongly maintained that war, specifically the use of nuclear bombs, would only leave the world in ruins and regret.

“I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.” – Roger Ebert