colinpowell.jpgAn ambitious new second lieutenant approached an old general at the bar of the officers’ club (one of the few opportunities to jump rank) and asked, “How do I become a general?”

The grizzled veteran replied, “Work like a dog. Become the best. Develop physical and moral courage. Never stop learning, growing, improving. No matter how tired you are, never show fatigue. Become worthy of being followed, become capable of leading.”

“Wow!” said the lieutenant, “That’s how I become a general?”

“No,” replied the general. “That is how you become a first lieutenant and then you keep doing it over and over and over.” (Adopted and modified liberally, with thanks and apologies to Fortune magazine, July 6, 2009, p. 9.)

Life is a process. Achieving excellence is like become physically fit: You don’t do it once and then become set for life. You’ve got to do it over and over and over. Excellence, and success, is not an event, it is a life-long habit.