Every day, every moment, make every effort your best. The Universe and its Creator are watching you. Gravity will find favor for those who never slack off and hold to high standards, even when no one is looking. God created laws of nature to work that way, to reward righteousness done in secret. There is no way you can ever serve kings and queens if you don’t serve everyone as you would a king or queen.
Kings and queens want to hire people who make excellence seem effortless, which means that your best needs to be your “normal”. Never give into the poison of people telling you, “That’s good enough,” when you know it’s not.
It is true that with some things we need to recognize that high standards are not our highest priority. Knowing what things to “do to standard” and with what things to “exceed expectation” is part of good judgment—part of doing your best. No matter how old we get, we never stop improving our good judgment of knowing which standards fit where. So, always do your best at learning this good judgment.
If you know that more work won’t help and that other matters need your attention, move on. If you know you have exhausted your energies for the time being, rest. But, never lay down your hammer and pen because you want an excuse to not do your best. Only the best work pays the best.
Place a high value on delayed gratification in every sector of life. Hard work empowers delayed gratification and delayed gratification teaches us self-control, creating resilience against corruption, bribery, and blackmail. With consumer products, don’t make a product that is weak, then ask the customer to “be careful”. Make the product idiot-proof. Murphy’s Law applies to testing; diligently test and consider every scenario.
In college, I came to define “integrity” as a structure’s ability to withstand: 1. use, 2. abuse, 3. time, and 4. the elements. I was building two coffee stands. Observing, my father said, “People are going to stand on these things and do all sorts of things they weren’t made for. If you make them strong, they’ll out-live you, just like grandpa’s bookshelf over there.”