Have you ever wondered what is the definition of Best? What is definition of Excellence? What is the definition of Perfection? Here is a small story which not only helped me to understand the meaning of The Best, Excellence and Perfection but also guided me towards journey to excellence.
In ancient Rome, Romans had a very large number of Slaves. The behavior of Romans with their slaves was very cruel. Even for slightest mistakes the slaves were punished very harshly. Killing slave was not an offense in Roman law and Romans used to explore new ways to torture their slaves. If any of the slaves tried to escape from his master, there was only one punishment, slow but very painful death. This was also used to refrain other slaves from running.
All the roads were well protected by the Roman army and a big jungle was the only place where slaves could hide themselves. But the jungle was full of wild animals and it was considered impossible to cross jungle without any protection. Romans calculated if someone was to cross the jungle successfully he will have to run like a leopard else he will be chased and killed by wild animals. It needed a superhuman to run at such speed hence Romans never tried to protect the road leading to jungle. Still in ancient Roman texts there are tales of many slaves who were able to cross the forest successfully and live a free life.
When modern medical science came to know such stories they started testing human body if it was capable of running long distances at fast speeds. After so much of research medical science concluded that human body is incapable of taking this much of stress and if someone tries to run faster than the maximum speed described in the study his blood pressure will rise to such a level that he will die of a heart attack. They gave a bench mark that a human can’t run a distance of 400m in less than 50 seconds.
On 29th Sept. 1900 Maxie Long of USA covered 400m in 47.8 seconds breaking the bench mark set by scientists. Time taken by Maxie was a world record in athletics and he was considered the best. Scientists said Maxie Long has something special that made him capable of covering 400m in less than 50 seconds. On May 27, 1916 Ted Meredith of USA broke this record by 4 seconds. Now 47.4 seconds was the new bench mark. On 18th Oct.1968 Lee Evans of USA covered the 400m in 43.29 seconds to reset the new bench mark. On 17th Aug. 1988 Reynolds set a new world record to cover 400m in 43.29 seconds. A new bench mark. And on 26th Aug 1999 Michael Johnson of USA made a new world record and covered 400m in 43.18 seconds. Michael Johnson’s world record still standing tall and has not been broken.
Today how many of us know Maxie Long of 1900, let alone remembering him. People talk about Michael Johnson of 1999 and they will talk till a new athlete comes and reset the bar higher. In last 100 years the bench mark in athletics has been reset at least 25 times by different athletes. No one talks about athletes who were the best of their times and raised the standard to new levels. We remember people who keep raising the bar continuously and keep improving their own bench marks. Yesterday’s best can’t always be the best. It may not even considered to be good tomorrow.
So what is the Best, Excellent and Perfection? There is nothing called Best, Excellent or Perfection. It is all about improving, getting better and better and raising the bar to next level.
Hope you too are on your Journey to Excellence.