What my irksome shower door teaches about extraordinary living

by | January 2, 2012

My shower door is upside down.

I know this because the label, which is etched into the glass, is on the top, the words upside down.

It irks me so much I have to avert my eyes and breathe deeply every time I shower.

I imagine the worker who installed it, upon discovering he’d put it in upside down, shrugging his shoulders carelessly and thinking, “Meh, no one will ever notice.”

How he sleeps at night I will never know.

Excellence has nothing to do with who else notices. It is a fierce, unyielding commitment to yourself.

A commitment that you’ll never cut corners. That you refuse to stand for sloppy work. That you hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.

In fact, it is particularly those times when no one else will ever know that matter most.

A man who compromises privately will never rise to his potential publicly.

A man whose standards are determined by the expectations of others can only rise to the level to which others will allow him.

As Howard Thurman said,

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”

I judge a craftsman — both his work and his heart — by the dusty, concealed nooks and crannies. By the tiny details that reveal tremendous insights into his character.

Furthermore, it makes no difference whether he’s a janitor or a CEO.

Excellence can be cultivated in any station in life.

Cleaning toilets and digging ditches are honorable work — if one does them with excellence.

And performing with excellence is the guaranteed path to increasing your value to others, and therefore your personal prosperity and fulfillment.

One could say it’s just a shower door.

I say it’s a window into a worker’s soul.

(For tools to live your purpose with excellence, click here to download my toolkit now.)

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