Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Be Demanding–Of Yourself

We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands upon himself, and the latter is one who makes no demands on himself.
Jose Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher and essayist (1883-1955) 


Most of us want to be thought of as excellent–in our work, in our example, in our efforts and ethics, in our health and appearance and in our outlook on life. We want to be excellent parents, excellent friends, excellent employees, supervisors, managers or leaders.  We don’t want to be common in the sense it was used in this thought, as unexceptional, mediocre and unimpressive. (The examples we see of that condition are enough to motivate us!)

Señor Ortega y Gasset was correct: Achieving excellence (or improving substantially) requires making demands on ourselves–perhaps asking of ourselves actions that are difficult or uncomfortable mentally or physically, or that require time and effort. It’s rarely easy. Most of us have to say, “OK, Mind, Body and Spirit. I want this from you! I know you can give it to me and I won’t settle for less, so do it!”

What do you want to demand of yourself today, this week or in the coming weeks and months?  It doesn’t have to be a dramatic accomplishment to be worthy of demanding more. Maybe you need to more consistently fulfill the requirements of your work role. Maybe you need to focus on a new or renewed good habit; or stopping one thing and starting something else; or, being your best self even when you are tempted to be otherwise. It’s all worth the effort, and all of it will give you a wonderful sense of  achievement.

Remember, you can’t hint or hope, even to yourself, and expect to achieve. You will have to command, insist and refuse to accept anything less than what you want.  That is the ultimate self-discipline that leads to excellence.  Be demanding!

 You can do it!

September 13th, 2011 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work | 3 comments


  1. Tina, thank you for sharing your great ideas last week at the KACP conference. Hope to see you again soon. This website is very enjoyable and I’ll be sharing it with a lot of people. My daughter certainly enjoyed hearing about you and how I described those great photos! Thanks again!

    Comment by Will | September 25, 2011

  2. Ms. Rowe, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your kind words to my manager. Those things can really make a difference in a job like mine. I feel like you are one person who practices what she “preaches” and I admire that. Bless you for helping me.

    Comment by Saralynn | September 25, 2011

  3. This is a good thought, especially for my work as a youth coach. I’ve noticed though that the kids often demand more of themselves than we adults do. We make wayyy too many excuses! Enjoyed your class last week. Hope your back problems got better, I know how that can be! Take care of yourself and travel safe.

    Comment by Husker | September 25, 2011

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