Tag Archives: books

The Habit of Excellence

Excellence is something that requires effort and dedication, not something that is achieved overnight. It is an ongoing process of consistency and hard work. Will Durant famously said,

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a not an act, but a habit.

Will Durant

Excellence is a habit that must be cultivated, rather than a destination that is reached and then forgotten. To become excellent, one must learn to be consistent, persistent, and diligent in their efforts. Excellence is not an achievement that is acquired quickly, but instead is something that must be built upon over time.

The Problem with Goals

We have all been taught many times over that goals are important, but goals are not the ultimate key to success. A goal is meant to provide a sense of direction or something to strive for. However, if you count on goals to reach and maintain a peak level of success or excellence, you are liable to end up like the proverbial dog chasing a car with no idea what he would do with it if he actually caught it.

In his famous book Atomic Habits, James Clear argues Durant’s case. Clear says in his book that systems are more important than goals and that you can achieve success by having good systems while ignoring goals. As you can probably put together from the title of the book, Clear’s “systems” are made up of good habits designed to make you a little bit better every day. The purpose of his book is to demonstrate how habits can create consistent growth and steady improvement over time to achieve your goals or even completely surpass them without leaving you feeling disappointed after reaching some arbitrary milestone. Let’s think through this premise a bit with an example.

Consider the goal of becoming a millionaire. Imagine working really hard for a long time and finally achieving that goal. What do you do when you have acquired all that money? What’s the point of continuing on your journey of financial gain if you have accomplished what you set out to do? Are you really content with being a millionaire, or are you just going to create a new goal to entertain yourself, such as becoming a billionaire? And what do you do when you reach that goal? Are you finally going to be content, or will the cycle continue? When is enough enough?

Whatever you decide to do about your finances, you will still need to come up with some new goal to keep yourself occupied at some point because retiring to a tropical island and spending your days in a hammock on the beach is going to get pretty boring after a week or two. We all know at least a few people who have retired comfortably only to go stir crazy and end up returning to work or starting a new project to keep themselves busy. They caught their car, and they didn’t know what to do with it. Goals can’t be our ultimate motivation. Once a goal is reached and the temporary high of success is over, we are left with no clear direction.

The Benefit of Habits

Now instead of aiming to become a millionaire, imagine that you have no end goal for your finances. Instead, your only goal is to maintain good financial habits. Now there is no final destination and no arbitrary number in your head that you have to reach. Your goal is not some final destination but is instead the maintenance of an ongoing process. And your finances will still be in great shape despite the lack of a lofty goal to shoot for. You will still be well on your way to becoming a millionaire thanks to your consistent financial habits, but now it does not matter if you ever reach a certain number or completely surpass it because there is no destination.

When you focus on maintaining good habits, your goal shifts from reaching a single event that will inevitably be underwhelming to being the ongoing maintenance of excellence, whatever that may mean for you. You can still have and achieve your goal, but your long-term satisfaction is no longer completely dependent on achieving that goal. Whether you reach that goal or not, your primary focus is still on maintaining excellent habits, which never have to go away.


So remember, goals are great, but habits are more important. Whether or not your habits take you to some lofty conclusion, they will still keep you on a consistent path of constant growth and improvement. A goal in and of itself does not accomplish that consistency and in most cases will not provide the satisfaction you were hoping for in the long term. Set goals to provide some direction and something to strive for but remember that there is really no final destination. No one ever “arrives” in life. There is always more to be achieved beyond any goal, but consistent habits can keep you moving forward indefinitely while also helping you reach goals and milestones along the way.


5 Ways for New Authors to Gain Exposure 

The following is a guest post by Michael from The Entrepreneur Hub! Give him a visit at theentrepreneurhub.com for more great entrepreneurship-related content like this!

Maybe your first novel is going to be published soon, or perhaps you’ve just found an agent. Either way, you’re eager to make your mark as an author, and you’re wondering how to gain positive exposure for your work. These tips will show you how to draw up a business plan, write ironclad contracts, and meet other authors in person! 

Develop a Business Plan 

You might not think of your writing endeavors as a business pursuit – but even artists need business plans! To create a business plan, start by writing down which types of books you plan to sell and what your publishing schedule might be like. You should also include details about which platforms you’re planning to use for selling your books. If you plan to register with a business structure, you can note this, too, as well as your project budgets, projected income, and any funding you might need.  

Draw Up Strong Contracts 

Many people in creative professions overlook the importance of strong contracts when they’re conducting business. But it’s all too easy for new authors to take a financial hit because someone takes advantage of them when they’re looking for early exposure. 

If you offer other writing services to clients in addition to writing novels, you can find basic contract templates online and tweak them to suit your business. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to use a PDF editing tool that will allow you and your clients to fill out and sign contracts online without printing physical documents. Once you e-sign it, you can safely and securely send the files. 

Utilize Social Media 

Do you follow some of your favorite authors on social media? If you’re already on these platforms, it’s time to start sharing details about your own work, too! Putting yourself out there can be intimidating, but it’s crucial if you want to sell books. To use social media effectively, Gatekeeper Press recommends hosting Q&A live streams to chat with your readers, posting progress updates about your latest books, or sharing writing tips to help other new authors. 

Enter Contests 

Entering writing contests is a great way to bring more attention to your work. You might assume that it’s not worth entering contests if you’re inexperienced because your chances of winning seem slim – but if someone has to earn the prize, why shouldn’t it be you? If you want to enter a particular writing contest, make sure to go over all of the submission requirements in detail so that you don’t miss any requirements. 

Network In-Person 

Finally, it’s important to look beyond the internet in terms of gaining exposure. You’ll also want to connect with a writing community offline! While getting together with other writers in person can feel a little nerve-wracking at first, it’s also a lot of fun. To meet writers in your area and make friends with other authors, Novel Publicity recommends going to events in your city, like public readings, or signing up for a writer’s workshop that meets regularly.  

Just be sure to come armed with a stand-out business card to pass along to others. There’s nothing like having your own calling card with your branding message as you meet potential partners and clients. When you’re looking for an online business card creator, here’s a possible solution that offers professionally-designed templates you can choose to personalize with your contact information, graphics, colors and logo. Business cards remain a medium that has long-lasting appeal and a tangible way to stay in front of others. 

At these events, you can offer to exchange manuscripts with writers and give them feedback. This is a great way to learn more about the revision process and get inspiration for your future projects. 

It’s not easy to break into the publishing industry. If you have a novel in the works, you’ll need to focus heavily on self-promotion and getting eyes on your work. By developing a clear business plan, working with contracts, having a business card, and leveraging social media to your advantage, you can build a loyal audience. 

Photo via Pexels 

Thanks to Michael for contributing this guest article! If you enjoyed the post, remember to check out more of his content over at The Entrepreneur Hub!