I’m struggling to find my footing in a society that distrusts excellence. I hunted excellence every day for 11 years. While the heat of my face still held its imprint on the pillow, I imagined ways to be better than yesterday. In minuscule moments of pause, I prepared myself for the next opportunity. As the dark defeated the sun, I analyzed the progress I had made and planned for tomorrow. The pursuit was always there. If anyone asked, I pointed to my high-stakes job as a Navy pilot. I never admitted that I loved the hunt. It gave my day meaning and purpose. It filled me with pride.
This newsletter is excellent!
A Latham gem. Awesome piece my friend!
Mediocrity is for the birds. Excellence is the only way!
Wow. I get a hit of adrenaline reading this. But to live it, and know you have. Wow.
Great writing Latham. Also quite a fan of that set of neurochemicals. : ) When the kids were little and I was craving some excitement I bought a trailer bike I could plop them on and head out on the windy woodland trails near the house. They loved it and it got some of those juices flowing. Ok, not quite an aircraft carrier, but better than sitting around the house.
I found myself thinking about this piece for days after I first read it. The way you embrace excellence in service of something bigger than yourself is inspiring.
Dude. Yes. So pumped you wrote this. Really inspirational...
Excellent, excellent essay.
A dear friend of mine also spent his first career as a Navy pilot, flying jets from carriers, like you. Flight instructor, I believe. Now he flies widebody commercial, and is working on a very different third career. This helps me understand his earlier world. Bravo!
I see a little something hiding between your words on excellence... I'd say the reason it's ended up that we "should" distrust excellence is precisely because most jobs _are_ uninspiring, and excellence at something empty is empty itself—and so it's not just cheapened for the sake of marketing (although that is certainly true), but in that so much of our honest effort is put towards dishonest ends.
Three times is the charm. Your stats will tell you that this was the piece that inspired me to subscribe. They’re only partly right. It was the last 3 of your pieces: yes. Excellent, all.
You and I have lived opposite lives in many ways, yet your writing still hits me in the heart and the guts. Maybe it’s because we’re same-same in this one. And in the discovery of Beingness after so much doing. And in finding plenty of examples of what we don’t want, so hunting the truths of what we’re for. The worth dying for. The standing for. Thank you for sharing yourself like this. I look forward to your rebrand, and congrats on finding the name. (I followed Sarah’s crumbs.)
Is excellence relative? Asking because I’m in a life circumstance where I feel extremely lucky that I had the energy to simply wash up today.