Our personal habits and behaviours are interesting, aren't they? What we do for ourselves often differs from what we do for others. I've been contemplating this lately as I fire up my creative life again. I'm making these for designers in town and have noticed that my attention to detail and perfection of aspects no one will ever see is astonishing.
It is imperative to me that the quality be unsurpassed and exceptional. Small construction and design details that may not matter to the designers or even the end client are wildly important to me through this process. And I must admit I love (LOVE) the feeling of producing with a spirit of excellence. It feels fabulous. It feels right. It feels purposeful. Whether or not anyone else cares about the finer points is irrelevant. The act of making things luxuriously fine is reward enough. I'm quite proud of what I've made and how well crafted the finished pieces are. That in and of itself is incredibly fulfilling.
Would I invest as much heart and soul into a product for myself? I know the answer. I would strive for perfection but I would not obsess as much over the minor details. Just as you might eat dinner by yourself at your kitchen counter but pull out all the stops to entertain guests. It's using your finest ingredients and pulling out the heirloom stemware. There's a pleasure in doing things well for others. There is a value in striving for excellence for your own benefit. There's a deep sense of satisfaction in doing things well even if know one notices. It develops your inner life and builds incredible self worth.
I encourage you to try it. Make a concerted effort to be excellent in areas no one will ever notice. Perhaps it is as domestic as perfectly iron sheets even though you'll be sleeping alone. If you are a maker, it's about producing the finest quality. As a chef it might mean whipping up a five course meal that surpasses all expectations. It's picking something up that someone dropped and rushing down the block to ensure they have it. The idea is about doing things exceptionally well and doing them without expectation of anything in return.
What can you do today to serve others (or yourself) with a spirit of excellence? What private acts could you perform right now with an attitude of precision and purpose? Think about that. Try it. I assure you the feeling that flows through your soul wil be all the reward you could possibly need. The acts themselves are in fact the incredible gift you receive in return for doing your best.
Go... be excellent. You'll quickly find you're happily addicted to it.