Path of Excellence by Kai Munshi
Three Steps to Find Your Path of Excellence
The 26th President of the United States once said, “I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.” Viewed through any objective lens, Theodore Roosevelt’s life was far from average. What the Hero of San Juan Hill had embraced in life was that he would never actually reach a level of excellence. It’s not a destination. The pursuit of excellence is a journey that never ends.
Mediocrity Leads to Death
Men in our culture are becoming increasingly apathetic. Comfortably living in a state of mediocrity. Flying under the radar. Satisfied with never pursuing dreams and aspirations. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Is that how God built us? Not even close.
“A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth” - Proverbs 26:15
God designed us to grow with discomfort. Muscles strengthen when fibers are torn apart, promoting new growth. The brain works in the same manner. He created our minds with plasticity, which is the capacity to continuously change with learning. The brain creates new neural pathways as we develop a skill. Those pathways then strengthen as we work towards mastery. And it NEVER stops - meaning an old dog CAN always learn new tricks.
High achievers operate with the mental focus that the NEXT success will be better than the last. Constantly pushing and testing the limits of their abilities. They may quantify their own efforts as “average,” but the graph of progress shows an upward trajectory with no end in sight. That’s the path of excellence.
Imagine, what would life would be like with a mentality of continuously seeking self-improvement? Striving to be your best version. More importantly, think about the impact you would have on family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. What’s holding you back?
1. Look Inward
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” - Matthew 7:3
A symptom of the mediocrity affliction is the inability or unwillingness to take personal responsibility. In many ways, our society is adopting cultural norms to support that dangerous psychosis.
“How can I improve myself when everyone else around me is failing to support my efforts?” It sounds even more ridiculous when verbalized out loud or illustrated with this example: A guy who can only run a mile before passing out sets a personal goal to finish a 5K. Instead of grinding it out on the pavement to build endurance, he simply calls the race organizer and demands the route be reduced to one mile to match his current abilities. Absurd, right? Each of us are probably doing the same thing in certain areas of our lives.
The first step in finding the path of excellence is to take responsibility. Look in the mirror instead of criticizing your spouse for a failing marriage. Are you loving her the way that Christ loved the Church? That’s exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s a high bar, but that’s what you signed up for at the altar.
Your kids don’t want to spend time with you? What conditions are YOU creating that are pushing them away? Not losing weight or making progress in the gym? Work harder. Elevate yourself. We shouldn’t lower the bar or bring everyone else down to match subpar standards.
2. Stop Thinking and Just DO
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” - James 1:22
Even after coming into full recognition of our own shortcomings, we can often struggle finding motivation to take that first step. The hesitation is only amplified when we set ambitious goals. But wouldn’t life be better when filled with lofty dreams that we are actually intent on pursuing?
Reality only becomes reality when we put in the work. It may be mentally and physically exhausting, but remember that God built us to grow and thrive under pressure. It just takes time and discipline.
Recent studies show the average person needs more than 2 months to form a new habit. That’s 2 months of DAILY habit-forming work. Not 2 days, take a break for a few days, and then start up again. That would actually be repeatedly starting over. Inconsistency will only extend the timeline.
In the practical sense, that might mean saying “I love you” to your spouse EVERY SINGLE DAY regardless of how agitated you may feel. It could also mean forcing yourself to get up 15 minutes early to spend time in scripture. Walking slowly around the block that progresses into running around the neighborhood. Push through the mental obstacles and get aggressive. The clock is ticking…
3. Embrace a Sense of Urgency
“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” - Psalm 144:4
Those who accept the biblical truth of salvation know that a glorious and beautiful eternity is a very real thing. God also promises throughout scripture that we can live an abundant life on earth while pursuing His calling.
The average lifespan for the American male is approximately 75 years, but God doesn’t promise you a specific number of days on earth. Only that everyday can be abundant and full. Jesus also teaches us not to “worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
The time to start the reconciliation process with an estranged relative or friend is the second you get done reading this message. Not tomorrow when it may tragically be too late. NOW is the time to get off the couch and start pursuing God’s purpose. Recognize that there is a limited amount of time in your account. You cannot buy and deposit even a fraction of one more second. Place a high value on this precious commodity and invest wisely.
Stop making excuses.
Get moving…the clock is ticking.
Kai J. Munshi
About Kai Munshi
Kai is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer and federal law enforcement officer. He still works for the government in the field of training and education. He and his wife Sheri have been married for over 20 years. They live on Saint Simons Island in Georgia. Kai serves on the Men in the Arena Board of Directors.