I do, indeed, have a quote that I live my life by.  But the quote is my own. 

“perfection is not a requirement in my life, but excellence is mandatory.”

I’m certainly not perfect, and I don’t expect perfection from other people. But I do believe that excellence is something we should strive for in everything we do. We need to give every job and every interaction with others the very best effort we have. We need to take the time and give the attention required to make sure what we have made, done, or said is the best we can do. 

Mediocrity is the current quality level of most of our society today. I see it in almost every business and in almost every interaction with other people. For many years of my life, I visited restaurants where every employee made a determined effort to make sure the food was cooked properly, the dishes and utensils were clean, and the coffee was kept refilled. I shopped in stores where the clerks actually enjoyed helping their customers and prided themselves in knowing what would please them and in being patient when decisions were not easy to make.

I had family members in hospital situations where the doctors and nurses actually cared about the patients and would never have even considered leaving a patient in wet bedclothes or not double-checking medications, or not patiently answering all their questions. I spent time on phone calls to large companies that I paid to provide a service, and I got a real person on the other end without waiting for quarter to half an hour before anyone would even talk to me.  I rarely find those experiences these days. And, in fact, I find a great deal of negative attitudes, sloppy work, and dirty environments where there should be the highest degree of cleanliness. It troubles me.

But I don’t think the people who settle for this mediocrity are deliberately being lazy about life — at least most of the time. Rather, I think there’s just something in our soul that feels discouraged and maybe even tired of “trying harder to do better” — because most of the world around us it not trying either. This dis-spiritedness is contagious, and we can fall into its trap very easily if we don’t keep up our guard.

So I do try, in my own little part of the world, to strive for excellence in the things that I’m responsible for. Do I always succeed in my efforts. Honestly, no, I do not. But I do try, and I intend to keep on trying just as hard as I can. Hence, in my journal, on my refrigerator magnates, and in my artwork, I keep painting or printing the quote I live by: “Perfection is not a requirement in my life, but excellence is mandatory.”