What are the characteristics of people who excel at what they do? The Bible identifies five traits of those who make it to the top:

1. PEOPLE WHO EXCEL WORK WITH ENTHUSIASM. Emerson once said, "Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm. Regardless of whether the job is big or small, give it your best." Great performers give their best effort, no matter what the size of the audience. "Whatever your task is, put your whole heart and soul into it, as work done for the Lord, not merely for men.” Colossians 3:23

2. PEOPLE WHO EXCEL SHARPEN THEIR SKILLS. They never stop developing… growing… learning... improving. "If the ax is dull, and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success." Ecclesiastics 10:10 It takes more than desire to excel, it takes skill! Remember - you're never wasting time when you are sharpening your "ax".

3. PEOPLE WHO EXCEL KEEP THEIR WORD. They are reliable. They can be counted on to do what they say they'll do. So they excel because people of integrity are rare in our society. "Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful they are, but just try to find someone who really is!" Proverbs 20:6 Reliability beats talent in the long run.

4. PEOPLE WHO EXCEL MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Even under pressure...or change...or unrealistic demands, they don't allow themselves to become negative. Complainers never excel at anything except complaining. "Do all things without grumbling or arguing...and you will shine out like a light in a dark world." Philippians 2:14-15. Remember "If the boss is angry with you, don't quit! A quiet spirit will quiet his bad temper!" Ecclesiastics 10:4

5. PEOPLE WHO EXCEL DO MORE THAN IS EXPECTED. This is a secret that every successful person has discovered. You'll never excel by only doing what is required - the bare minimum. Jesus said, "If anybody forces you to go a mile with him, do more, go two miles with him." Matthew 5:41

Oscar Hammerstein told a story of seeing the top of the head of the Statue of Liberty up close from a helicopter. What impressed him was the incredible detail the artist had sculpted on an area of the statue that the artist never expected anyone to see. The artist had no idea man would someday fly above his statue!
When you are tempted to cut corners and you think "No one will ever know."
Remember God is looking down and sees everything you do. Give it your best this week!


But the fact is that until you move out of the comfort zone and get the experience from making the mistakes, it's not possible for you to grow and become the person that you desire. Remember, Everything that you do counts. The biggest mistake that people make is they think that only what they want to count, counts. That when you read a book, when you listen to an audio program, when you go to a course, when you go to bed early and you get up early and you work, it all counts. And it's all going on the plus side of your ledger. But when you watch television, waste time, hang out, fool around and so on, all of that counts as well and it's going on the negative side. A person who has a great life, by the law of accumulation, is a person who's accumulated far more credits on the credit side than debits on the debit side. And here's an important point: If what you are doing is not moving you toward your goals, then it's moving you away from your goals. Nothing is neutral. Everything that you're doing is either moving you toward the things that you want to accomplish in life, the person you want to be, the wealth you want to accumulate, or it's moving you away. Everything counts.

Remember, we live in a knowledge-based society, and knowledge in every field is doubling approximately every seven years. This means that you must double your knowledge in your field every seven years just to stay even. You're already 'maxed out' at your current level of knowledge and skill. You've reached the ceiling in your career with your current talents and abilities. If you want to go faster and farther, you must get back to work and begin to prepare yourself for greater heights. You must put aside the newspaper, turn off the television, politely excuse yourself from aimless socializing and get back to working on yourself.

A quotation by Abraham Lincoln had a great influence on my life. It was a statement he made when he was a young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. He said, 'I will study and prepare myself, and someday my chance will come.'

If you study and prepare yourself, your chance will come as well. There is nothing that you cannot accomplish if you'll invest the effort to get yourself ready for the success that you desire. And there is nothing that can stop you but your own lack of preparation. Let me end with this beautiful poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: 'Those heights by great men won and kept; / Were not achieved by sudden flight; / But they, while their companions slept, / Were toiling upward in the night'

Your possibilities are endless, your potential is unlimited, and your future opens up before you when you prepare yourself for the success that must inevitably be yours.