Post date: Mar 24, 2014 8:21:49 AM

by: Maila M. Capulong

None of us wants to think that we have lived in vain, that our time on earth has meant nothing that we didn’t count. Each of us has a deep desire to make a contribution, to leave our mark. We understand that few of us will impact the wide world or change the course of a nation. Yet, within the smaller world which is our own, we yearn to know that we mattered. If we harnessed this desire and released it into the world, through our work, our families, our schools and our communities, imagine what a tidal wave of energy, creativity, confidence and ambition we could set loose!

Even to the beating of our hearts, everything we do in our life is a choice. Everything! From careers to companions, from food to philosophy, from aspirations to actions, everything we do, say, think and feel is a choice.

Our perceived inability to make the choices which will bring us happier, better lives is based in our emotions. The external conditions of our lives (work, wealth, social status, ethnicity, nationality) are circumstantial. What we make of our circumstances is driven by our internal conditions (ambition, passion, pride, desire, attitude, faith). It isn’t that we lack knowledge, skills and talent; it is that we lack resolve, determination and confidence. And almost always it is fear that stops us. For courage, too, is a choice.

Aristotle said, “Excellence is an art won by training and habitation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

In short, excellence is a choice! So is ambition, achievement, learning and resolve. We are what we repeatedly do. And choosing to do, to be, is an action.

We mistakenly believe that once we have the right “feeling” we’ll take the right action. But psychologists have long noted that action does not follow feeling, but rather feeling follows action

I feel most fortunate to be constantly confronted with this daily choice. Each challenge to decide is a vivid and potent reminder of the gift of choice, its purpose, its potential and its power. Its magnificent impact of what I can do today, to contribute something for this institution, to be able to inspire others through my own philosophy of excellence.

Now and in the days to come, every day I must choose to be excellent.