The Master in the art of living
Makes little distinction between his work or his play,
His labor and his leisure,
His mind and his body,
His education and his recreation,
His love and his religion,
He hardly knows which is which,
He simply pursues his vision of excellence
In whatever he does,
Leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing
To him he is always doing both.
- Author unknown
The New Year is a time when people tend to reflect on their achievements, shortcomings, and goals they’d like to set in order to make the upcoming year more impressive than the last. Resolutions encompass everything from losing a few pounds, reading more, to excelling at your career. When you’re reflecting and making these goals, it’s important to remember why you want this change.
Chances are, you want to exercise because it will make you healthier, or want to tackle a stack of books because you know it will give you the knowledge you need for a promotion. Whatever your goal is for the New Year, an underlying theme in each of them is that you want to do something for yourself that will bring you closer to excellence. But what if you applied that mindset to everything in your life?
To become a master in the art of living, you need to live your life in pursuit of excellence in everything you do. If you take this approach, then everything you do – taking a class, running a 5K, traveling - will be an investment in yourself. Even when you are doing things for others, like spending time with your family or volunteering, is when you can get the greatest benefit of all.
Don’t read a book because someone says you should; read a book because you deserve it, because it’s a gift to yourself. Learning something new, eating something healthy, exercising, feeling love – these are all gifts. They are gifts in the discipline and habit of excellence.
For example, exercising is not something you have to do, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s something you should do. Choose to exercise because you feel like you deserve it, and choose to do anything else in life because you deserve it, too. The gifts of excellence, achievement, and greatness are all for yourself. Not distinguishing between work and play, and instead always doing both is what will make you a master of living.
As you think about the New Year, and about your career, health, and mind remember: everything you do, do well. Do everything in the pursuit of excellence so that it’s a gift to yourself. Nobody can ever take that gift away from you.