… excellence is not a law of physics. Excellence is a moral act.

You create excellence by deciding to do so, nothing more. It doesn’t matter if you went to the wrong school, or were born on the wrong side of the tracks, or working the wrong job.

You go into the situation and you go the extra mile. Your decision. You own it. You own the potential downsides as well.

~ Huch MacLeod


I have a hard time distinguishing when I’m in the pursuit of excellence from when I’m in the paralysis of perfection. In my mind I can see so many options, permutations and problems, and my thinking wants to race down every path. Which path leads to excellence? Which path leads only to perfection? I spent a lot of time—let’s say the ’90s and ’00s—checking every available path to see where they led.

But I don’t want to do that any more. Here are things I’m doing, and of course I’ll do them with excellence. And over there? Over there are the rest of the paths throughout the entire universe which I’m perfectly fine leaving to others. The universe did just fine before I was here, and it will continue to be fine after.

You know that great Robert Frost poem about two paths diverging in a wood? Turns out that it does not matter which path you choose… until you’ve gone so far down that path that you cannot return and go the other way. Only then have you actually chosen.



If you’re growing at all as a human being, then you’re going to be a different person each year than you were the previous year. And if you consciously pursue personal development, then the changes will often be dramatic and rapid. You can’t guarantee that the goals you set today will still be ones you’ll want to achieve a year from now.

~ Steve Pavlina from, https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/06/self-discipline-persistence/

I am noticing the confirmation bias effect often. In the last year (or so) I’ve been paying more attention to goals– what is a good goal? how to set a goal? how to plan to reach a goal? The more I work on the skill(s) related to goals, the more I’m find I’m tripping over more and more writing such as the above. I’m willing to bet the writing isn’t happening more frequently (notice the year in the URL above).

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

~ Robert Frost, from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


§3 – The rose that grew from concrete

(Part 9 of 37 in series, Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)


Why does Parkour so effectively teach resilience? Because your regular world and your regular life are DESIGNED for your interaction. Stairs are a certain height, walking surfaces are smooth and even, door knobs are convenient, chairs, air conditioning, trains and autos; Everything you interact with is designed for human interaction. In a very real sense, that’s what “civilized” means.

Have you ever stopped to consider something as simple and common as doorways? What would life like, if – just for some historic reason – every doorway was only 4 feet high? Life would be much better simply because everyone would have to bend over regularly!

What if stairs were the norm? What if walking was the norm?

When you begin exploring your world through the lens of Parkour, you are told to intentionally seek out challenges. In Parkour practice, you’re exposing yourself to a hard choice: Bend your mind and body to the challenge, or face pain and injury. A good coach sets you up for success, but you’re still told to go under that railing, climb over that wall, and put your hands on that rough concrete. You have to teach your mind and body how to be resilient so that you can rediscover the ways already within yourself to interact with an environment that is, at best, indifferent to your wellbeing.

Once you see things differently, you can start interacting with things that were specifically designed for some reason other than human interaction. You start by looking at your world this way as part of a specific practice; “I’m going to class and the instructor makes us do this”. Eventually, the mindset becomes comfortable on its own without prompting, and you begin to automatically practice a mindful resilience in your daily life.

How could I get to that place over there without using that obvious pedestrian route? How would I get down there, or up there? Why am I eating inside when it’s so nice outside? What would I do if an emergency happened right now?

Once you are well and truly comfortable with the resilient mindset, your body relaxes and the physical uncertainty, or even fear, that you were unconsciously feeling goes away. In it’s place wells up good old natural Human Curiosity. Your mind says, “Sure, let’s go this other way,” and, “Let’s take this road less travelled.” It really does make all the difference.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost, from The Road Not Taken