I am doing a paragraph on goals, referring to this quote:"those who attain any excellence commonly spend life in one pursuit ; for excellence isnot often gained upon easier terms." Please tell me...

I am doing a paragraph on goals, referring to this quote:

"those who attain any excellence commonly spend life in one pursuit ; for excellence isnot often gained upon easier terms."

Please tell me what you learned from that quote.

Asked on by ranon

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Another and different interpretation of this quote is that once people attain excellence in a pursuit, they remain focused in the same pusuit at which they have experienced achievement. After all, the pursuit of excellence is an avocation in itself.  The artist, the musician, the actor--all become absorbed in their excellence, which they always feel can be improved upon, or taken to another aspect of excellence.  Thus, the pursuit of excellence is not a static action; it is a continuity of striving to better one's art or achievements. 

Although this pursuit of excellence is a lifetime pursuit, it does not necessarily exclude all else, and the price may not be too high, at all.  Consider those who are great--are they all unhappy?  Certainly, they belong less to themselves than to their art or to their people if they are leaders, yet their feeling of self-worth and accomplishment must be a tremendous reward.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Basically, what this quote is saying is that you cannot be excellent at anything unless you spend all your life focusing on that one thing.

If I were writing about this, I would say that I have learned from this quote that excellence at any one thing may not be worth the price.  My reason for saying this is that I do not believe that living your whole life towards any one goal (unless it is the goal of being a good person) is healthy.  Imagine if you wanted to be excellent at some sport.  By this quote, you would need to focus on that sport and nothing else.  You would probably have a hard time having good relationships, for example, because you would only care about your sport and not about the other person in the relationship.

So this quote, to me, is saying that being excellent has a very high price and that price may well be too high.

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