“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” (Will Durant). I have used this quote before in previous posts. I agree wholeheartedly with Durant’s summation of Aristotle’s work, and I also believe his quote embodies the very essence of who we are. When we are getting closer and closer to the end of something, especially something that has been happening over a long period of time, we tend to want to just finish rather than finish well. We find ourselves focused on the pain, exhaustion, and tired that running a long race brings. We would rather just finish and be done with whatever we are working on than finish the same way we started; head up, mentally strong, and focused.
Finishing is not enough. We must finish well. I am coming to the end of what feels like a grueling school year. We started in a hybrid model, which forced multiple changes in how we ran school. We eventually came back to full day classes with students to finish the year. The amount of changes and learning to make this year work, from a teacher’s perspective, was astronomical. The unconventionality of this year has increased the struggle of finishing the year well. It’s easy to look at the calendar and start counting down the days till summer, but what matters most is how I finish the few days we have left.
This mentality can be applied beyond the ending of a school year. Whether it’s a project on a job site, the end of the sports season, a marathon, or even the end of the day with your kids, how we finish is more important than just finishing. We must purpose within ourselves to finish well no matter what we are doing. Our character should be built on ideals that raise the bar and expectations for ourselves. An individual with a strong character doesn’t just finish something, but instead finds every ounce of strength to finish well.
Some of the most inspirational videos to watch are of the marathon runners who are so exhausted and are falling and collapsing just before the finish line. The race has depleted every ounce of their strength, and they can barely take another step. They can see the finish line only a few meters away, and instead of laying down and stopping just short of the finish line, they muster everything they have left and cross it. They don’t quit before the finish line. They don’t stop and make excuses for not finishing. Rather, they see the finish line, stumble, fall, crawl, and inch their way over the finish line. To these runners, finishing is everything, and they won’t let anything stop them from finishing well.
In my last post, I discussed the importance and value of Kavana. It’s the inward passion and desire to do all things to the best of our ability for the glory of God and the good will of others. Finishing well means we are finishing with Kavana. It doesn’t matter how tired we are, how worn out we are, how annoyed we may be, or how burned out we may have become, it’s not enough to just finish; we MUST finish well. The more we choose to finish for the sake of finishing, the more we damage our character and set ourselves back. We must keep the bar high for ourselves and be the example for those around us.
I want to encourage you in the race that you are running. When you see the finish line, don’t let off the gas. Keep pushing. Keep striving. Keep your head up and your character strong. Don’t finish for the sake of finishing. Instead, finish well. Cross the finish line knowing you gave your everything; your very best. Make excellence a habit.
- Don’t finish for the sake of finishing. Push beyond the tired, beyond the exhaustion, and finish with your head held high knowing you gave nothing but your best.
- We become what we repeatedly do. Make excellence a habit in your life. Break the chains and the cycles that are holding you back from becoming more.
- Build a character worth having. Don’t become lazy in your expectations for yourself. Keep the bar high and do everything in your power to reach it.
- Finish well. It doesn’t matter what it is, don’t just finish, finish WELL.
As always, stay humble and serve well!