As July comes to an end and attempts to reprieve itself with a little sun it also means that the exam season is over for many, at least for a short time. But what should you do with this time off, what is the best use of time after exams?
I have always been interested by the idea that I am sure was in an updated version of Tom Peters and Bob Waterman’s book, In Search of Excellence, first published in 1988. This was a book about what made American companies great. But rather than building ideas from first principle, it looked at successful US companies and worked backwards in order to find common themes, a simple modeling exercise.
What I found of particular interest was the updated chapter that I believe was called, the price of excellence. In this chapter they argued that to be excellent you have to make sacrifices, having a balanced life was all well and good but it did not lead to excellence, excellence required to some extent obsession. As I watched the opening of the Olympic Games last night I wonder how many of those athletes had a holiday or were at home every night to kiss their children good night, how many sacrifices had they made.
“No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation”
Quintus Horatius Flaccus – Roman Poet
But this is not an argument for obsession, well maybe short spurts of obsession, with rest and variety in the middle. The brain needs sleep and ideas need fertilising, sometimes connections and understanding come when you are least expecting them.
So go on holiday, engage in different activates, and challenge your understanding of what is around you but most of all have a great holiday…
Excellence in the opening of the London 2012 Olympic games.
And just for sheer entertainment a fabulous presentation by Marco Tempest telling the story of Nicola Telsa, “The greatest Geek who ever lived.”