If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less than excellent work.

No one is more critical of my work than I am. 

In a career that has thus far delivered tens of thousands of outcomes, I am only truly pleased with a very tiny selection. And even then, I find faults with all of them.

In my hunt for aphorisms, I came across… “The seeds of discontent that every artist feels at the completion of a work, become the germination of the next one.”   

This helped me to understand what I was going through. Was there ever satisfaction possible?  In writing my film about da Vinci, I encountered his words at the end of his life… “Did anything I did even matter?”  At first, that statement from the maestro floored me. If he could get to the end of his life feeling like it was all just OK and not amazing, then how does anyone ever get there?

I read bios of entrepreneurs, geniuses, filmmakers and they all share the same angst.

Somewhere in all of that self deprecation from those whom I admire so much, it became clear…. You never get THERE.  “There” does not exist. It does not matter how impressive one’s efforts might appear to others, to the one producing it, it is still just another step on the path.

I found both comfort and disappointment in that realization. Comfort because my own feelings of adequacy were normal and disappointment because there would never be a day where I might sit back and fully savor the fruits of the labors of love to which I have applied myself.

So to the point of this aphorism… you will never arrive at excellence. It does not exist. And it never will. Others may perceive your excellence and that is a good thing, but in your own mind, you are still just on a path of growth, to the very end. Da Vinci did not stop painting after the Mona Lisa. In fact, he did not ever turn it over to the patron who paid him for it, claiming that there were still things he wanted to finish. He said, “A work of art is never completed, just abandoned.” He died without ever finishing the Mona Lisa. And to others, it is the most famous painting in the world.

The best conclusion then, is the one that Thomas Watson proposed, which is to go straight to excellence every day. Do your very best work, every day. Never settle for less. Give it everything you have. All the time.

And if you ascribe to this life philosophy, the honest truth is…. you will never reach excellence. 

For you have been there all the time.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share
Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!