Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Pursuit of Excellence

Some people in this world are very talented. They become very good at what they do. But I have been privileged to know people in my life who excel at what they do. It's kind of like the difference between an ordinary athlete, and an Olympian. The Olympians excel, while the rest of us just do well.

I'm a pretty good pianist. I sight read well, and I have alot of experience. But I am not an excellent pianist. My husband's grandmother was an excellent pianist. Even in her old age, she could play incredibly difficult pieces. Even when she developed arthritis, and her fingers began to twist and gnarl, she could still play incredibly well.

Have you ever seen the Chinese acrobats? They are excellent. Their talent goes beyond just being athletlically inclined. They have achieved perfection.

My sister's family has many members who have excelled at something. My nephew, Dr. Psycho is an excellent photographer. His photography goes beyond just good. His father Dee Ice is an excellent forester. His mother Inklings is excellent at writing children's books, although hasn't as yet been published.

I am privileged right now to work in the choir with a choir director who is an excellent musician. Sometimes when I play or sing the music he has written, I feel that someday he will be like Van Gogh, whose works weren't well known until after his death. Maybe my friend's works won't even be known until the after life. But what he has created, is excellent.

When I was in high school I had a boy friend for about 1 1/2 years who was very talented in martial arts. His talent went beyond good; he excelled. Sometimes I think back on things he told me about the art we were studying, and I see how much higher his talent was than mine. I recently made contact with him and his brother on Facebook, and found that he still works teaching martial arts. I seem to remember getting a phone call from him right after I returned home from my mission, wherein he told me that he had started studying Jiu Ji Tsu, and was competing nationally. His talent went beyond just ordinarily good.

I'm not sure what exactly makes us go from the "good level", to the "excellent level". It might be practice. It might be training. It might be innate talent. It might be a combination of all of these things. But I feel so privileged when I have the chance to know someone who truly excels.


Delirious said...

I should mention that I have many family members who excel, and that others in Inkling's family have excelled too, but I just mentioned those three. :)

Nene said...

I think it's great that you can be the choir pianist and work with such a talented director. I feel that is how I got a lot of my music training - by working with a very talented musician.
I think you can be great because you are naturally talented and I think you can be great because you work hard at it. I knew a great pianist once who told me she was only good because she practiced a lot. She said her sister was "naturally" talented as a pianist - it came more natural to her.