It’s funny about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the very best you will very often get it.
There is no excellence anywhere without labor. We would think a man foolish indeed who would say, "l am willing that my business should prosper, or that my farm should yield plentifully, but I'll not stir a peg." But he is no more foolish than the man who says, "I am willing that God should bless me abundantly, but I shall not do anything toward that end myself." We must consistently rely upon the help of the Lord, but we will not make any progress or meet with any success unless we put forth an earnest effort.
Am I motivated by what I really want out of life — or am I mass-motivated?
Excellent firms don't believe in excellence — only in constant improvement and constant change.
Notice that "I" is at the center of the word "ethical." There is no "they." Achieving the ethics of excellence is our individual assignment.
We need timeless principles to steer by in running our organizations and building our personal careers. We need high standards . . . the ethics of excellence.
But when we get enough people who don't care, and who don't accept personal responsibility for high ethical standards, our organization gets the "M" disease. Mediocrity. Anybody in the place can be a carrier. By the same token, every individual can carry the cure: the ethics of excellence.
It is hard to be truly excellent, four-square in hand and foot and mind, formed without blemish.
Excellence and size are fundamentally incompatible.
Nothing average ever stood as a monument to progress. When progress is looking for a partner it doesn't turn to those who believe they are only average. It turns instead to those who are forever searching and striving to become the best they possibly can. If we seek the average level we cannot hope to achieve a high level of success. Our only hope is to avoid being a failure.
In this country [England] it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, to encourage the others. The reference is to Admiral John Byng, who was executed in 1757 for failing to prevent the French from taking Minorca.
Some days I don’t seem to have much energy. Perhaps worse yet, I don’t particularly want much energy.