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Your Most Important New Year’s Resolution: Put Excellence Before Success – Part II

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The Difference between Success and Excellence

Focused on success                                Focused on excellence

The result                                                    The performance
Failure is not an option                            Failure is a teacher
The destination                                          The journey
Winning                                                       Fulfilling potential
Can’t stand to be beaten                           Can’t stand to be outworked
Opponents are a threat                             Opponents make me better
Power over others                                      Power over myself
The end justifies the means                     There’s a right way and a wrong way
Building reputation                                   Building character

Excellence Before Success

So be wary of people or products that focus on outcome (“instant weight loss”) over process (“this can help you in your work of getting to a healthy weight”).

Focus on the journey rather than the destination. There are no elevators to the top of the mountain you are climbing. Put excellence before success and you will get there.




Get to the top of that mountain in 2018.  Let Gumptionade – The Booster for Your Self Improvement Plan help you get there.

Your Most Important New Year’s Resolution: Put Excellence Before Success – Part I

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Contemporaries of William Shakespeare rated him just on par with other notable playwrights and poets. Fifty years after Shakespeare’s death, John Dryden noted that the bard’s plays were being performed about half as often as those of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. Beaumont and Fletcher had become more successful than Shakespeare, especially with Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding.

By the end of the seventeenth century Shakespeare’s excellence had shone through. He took the place he maintains today as the greatest of all English-language poets and playwright.

Success relates to the standards and opinions of others and is fleeting. Excellence relates to personal development and has enduring value. You may or may not have success, but you can be excellent.

Put Excellence Before Success

If you must have success, you place your happiness outside of your control. Focusing on personal excellence, however, creates an internal center of gravity. As any tightrope walker will tell you, controlling your center of gravity builds courage.

Excellence is built by process: hard work, sound methods, and time. Success is influenced by luck. A person, a company, or a nation stumbles across a pair of seven-league boots and quickly laps the field.

If I win $10 million in the lottery or Chevron finds vast oil deposits under my house, I am a great success.

Success is often the by-product of excellence, but excellence is never the by-product of success. In fact, brilliant success often produces arrogance, complacency, and mediocrity:

When was the last time you saw a Sony Walkman?

Why did Martha Stewart go away for five months in 2004?

How could General Motors, the leader in worldwide car sales for
seventy-seven years, have filed for bankruptcy in 2009?

How far did Vanilla Ice fall from the day “Ice Ice Baby” became
the first hip-hop song to hit the number one spot on the Billboard

The drive for excellence is about building legitimate pride in the growing mastery of a skill gardening, say, or swimming, playing the cello, selling shoes, or using Excel spreadsheets.

The drive for success, however, is often rooted in vanity, that is to say in the usually doomed attempt to feel worthy by making others see you as worthy.

Pursue excellence and you will be in control of your center of gravity.

Pursue excellence and you will build your courage. And it takes courage – buckets of courage – to make meaningful and lasting change in how you live.


Want to achieve your goals in 2018? ? Gumptionade – The Booster for Your Self Improvement Plan will show you how.

Satan’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

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1. Start with what other people think you should do. That way your personal sacrifices will feel like punishment, thereby breeding resentment, resistance, and ultimately rebellion.

2. Be optimistic. Never mind that over the years your bad habit has become deeply ingrained. Count on sweeping it away in a few months.

3. Better yet, pick two major things you want to change at the same time!How to fail in 2018

4. Ask your wallet to do the work for you. Assume that buying enough frozen diet meals, gym memberships, brightly colored storage containers, bee pollen, packs of nicotine gum, how-to books and videos will be enough to reach your goals.

5. Be passionate about your plan, about the new you just around the corner, but forget that the meaning of passion is suffering.

6. Don’t adapt proven self-improvement strategies to your personality and your situation.  Don’t think about the predictable barriers that will arise to block your progress. You must not adapt your plan. Cannot start over in February after you face plant in January.

7. Demand a fast start and perfection. No low-hanging fruit, please. No rewards for progress along the way. And please be highly discouraged by any missteps or slippages.

8. Don’t arm yourself with facts. Don’t weigh yourself every day, don’t count your ciggies, don’t log your workouts.

9. Do this all by yourself.

10. See you in Hell.


Want to avoid failure in 2018? ? Gumptionade – The Booster for Your Self Improvement Plan will show you how.

Avoid Crashing: Make A Checklist

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On October 30, 1935, Boeing’s new four-engine bomber began its demonstration flight at Wilbur Wright Field. The A299 was favored to become the Army Air Force’s next generation long range bomber.

The plane rolled powerfully down the runway, took off, and climbed rapidly. Then it stalled, fell to the earth, and exploded.

The cause was an error by the pilot, the chief of flight testing. While seeing to the large number of takeoff procedures required by this advanced airplane, neither he nor his copilot remembered to unlock the rudder controls.

Human judgment is unreliable. It can fail at crucial times.You have a mission every day: to do what needs to be done.

The A299 outstripped the ability of pilots to execute required procedures in proper order. After the crash, it was considered too complicated to fly safely. The contract went to the Douglas DB-1, which later proved unsatisfactory for combat operations.

Boeing’s airplane was so much better, however, that a loophole in contracting specifications was used to equip one squadron. The Air Force named it the B-17. A reporter called it the Flying Fortress.

B-17s eventually flew thousands of precision-bombing attacks on German military-industrial capacity during World War II. The plane achieved iconic status for allowing American crews to complete missions despite sustaining heavy damage from enemy antiaircraft and fighters.

How did the risky A299 become the dependable B-17? Because the airplane was not too complicated to fly safely. It was too complicated to fly safely without help. There were too many things to remember.

B-17 pilots needed visible reference points. They needed a written checklist so they could see all the procedures for flying the plane. Here it is: The Actual B-17 Checklist.

Checklists are now part of standard operating procedure for flying any aircraft.


You have a mission every day: to do what needs to be done. You have work and family obligations. You have an obligation to yourself, to become more than you are now. There are distractions. Like B-17 pilots, your memory is unreliable. In addition, you lack an instrument panel and a copilot. Make a checklist. Gumptionade – The Booster for Your Self-Improvement Plan will show you how.


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Your Great Ideas: Dime a Dozen
Executing Your Plan: Rare as Hens’ Teeth

Young mouse: We will put a bell around the cat’s neck, so we hear
it coming!
Old mouse: ’Tis well said, but who dares bell the cat?

The quarterback hands the football to the halfback. Two guards pull from the offensive line and lead him around the end. The tight end blocks the linebacker on that side. Here comes the power sweep.

The Green Bay Packers, winners of the first two Super Bowls, ran the simple power sweep over and over: 28, left; 49, right.

Adapted by Vince Lombardi from the old single wing offense, the play was strategically mediocre. It was simple, and easy to recognize. Opposing defenses knew the Green Bay power sweep was coming at them several times a game. They just couldn’t stop it.

The reason was execution. Due to constant repetition in practice and on the playing field, the Packers executed the play brilliantly. The Green Bay power sweep: a mediocre plan plus sound execution creates excellence.


Alternating days of Bikram Yoga, weight training, and swimming a mile is a brilliant plan for getting fit. It uses all the muscles, is interesting, lets you buy three different cool outfits, and is guaranteed to give anyone under seventy a great body. Just walking for thirty minutes every day: mediocre.

Execution - Gumptionade will help you turn your plans to reality - Learn more today!

Which program do you think most of us will be more likely to stick to over the course of a year? Those Speedos won’t get the job done from the closet.

We are going to make baby food from organic local vegetables; we are going to use only cloth diapers; we are going to iron those diapers; we are going to play classical music for baby every day; and we are going to employ only college graduates as babysitters. A brilliant plan for raising a healthy child. Fuhgeddaboudit.

How about: we are going to keep our children reasonably clean and properly clothed and fed. We will read to them when we can, not scream at them when we are exhausted, and take them to the doctor when they get sick. We will do our best to let them know they are loved. That is a plan most parents can pull off. Hey baby, let’s try that.


Physician Atul Gawande writes about the yawning gap between our nation’s ability to develop breakthrough therapies for disease and our ability to make them effective. Huge advances are made in medicine. Brilliant plans are written for improving public health. What is overlooked by government, foundations, and academia is blocking and tackling, the boring—crucial— task of execution.

Our approach to health care resembles the flea flicker: an entertaining, elaborate, and unpredictable football play. Anything but the simple Green Bay power sweep. Result? We are way behind.

New discoveries and new ideas are vivid and inspiring. They fill us with enthusiasm. We forget to plan the work of making them work. We forget about the laborious adaptations and manifold disappointments of personal development. The bright idea is fascinating. Execution is boring, the opposite of Easy and Magic. But like Easy and Magic, bright ideas will not get us past Day Four.


Stop trying to bell the cat! Use the free Gumptionade Worksheet #11 “Unbend Your Spoon” to overcome the damage that has done to your self improvement plan.

i. Physician Atul Gawande writes about the yawning gap… Atul Gawande, “The Checklist,” The New Yorker, December 10, 2007.