The problem for me with this whole “Wheel of Excellence” thing is that I’m more interested in non-attachment than I am in competition.
The idea of “mastery” appeals to me; the idea of “wisdom” appeals to me. Is there a difference between these and excellence?
The end in view for the “Wheel of Excellence” appears to be peak performance; it appears to be winning some sort of competition. But we can be “the best” and still be pretty lousy people, leading pretty miserable lives.
Mastery and wisdom feel less about peak performance and more about a way of life.
I want to live a good life. I want to be happy. I want to be a blessing to those around me. I don’t want to be so consumed with being “the best” that I lose sight of everything else; that I lose my balance, my way.
Being “the best” feels one dimensional to me. The focus is entirely upon one’s craft. And it inherently involves comparing my own performance with that of everyone else I’m competing with.
Some other things grow out of that, of course. The world’s best canoeist is undoubtedly disciplined, focused, and in top physical shape. He is supremely confident. He is committed. He has a medal to hang on his wall, and validation of all his hard work.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. I just wouldn’t be happy pursuing that kind of excellence, that peak performance.
I want my life to be meaningful. I want to be competent, physically fit, and emotionally happy, with deep social connections. I want understanding, and wisdom.
Peak performance doesn’t preclude any of those things I desire.
But when winning becomes the only thing, that light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.
I’m OK with not being “the best.” Maybe that makes me a “loser.” But since I made peace with being ordinary, my life is a whole lot better.