My parents have a small farm on the Chesapeake Bay. On Saturday mornings I make the one and a half hour drive to the farm to cut the grass in a 2 acre field behind their house and a 1 acre field in their front yard.
I spend two hours riding their orange zero-turn Husqvarna mower up and down the fields, “expertly” navigating tight turns around tree trucks (this is what I tell myself) and doing my best to cut the grass in the ditches along their dirt driveway without getting stuck. So far, so good.
The fresh air. The smell fresh cut grass. The occasional bald eagle over head. The calm waters of the Mobjack Bay always in sight. The dogs happily chasing the mower – they think we are playing a game.
The reward of lunch a short drive down a dirt road away.
After the grass is cut, I move on to other tasks – cutting down trees, working the land, exploring the county, swimming in the creek, being good company to any family and friends who are around.
As the end of the day nears and everyone’s internal compass leads them to the porch, I take a moment to stand at the end of the porch and admire the perfectly cut sun-goldened fields and I am satisfied with the work. Proud of a field no one can see but me. Encouraged.
The field reminds me:
It is good to do one thing excellently. It is good to take the time to perfectly round the corners of a thing. To see what could be with perfect vision and to achieve it. To apply value and art where others move quickly.
Perfection is more valuable than production.
That’s why a Dali is worth more than a Big Mac.
In our busy world we can get lost in the constant need to move on to the next urgent task. Don’t forget the value of doing one thing excellently. Do not worry if it will be rewarded. Excellence is a reward in itself. Aristotle taught us that.
What is one thing you can do excellently?
What can you do excellently that no one else can do?
The world needs more of that.