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ESSAYS ON QUALITY
What Is Quality?
Quality as a Tool for Success
The Necessary Steps Before Personal Improvement Can Occur
The Difference Between Personal Development and Personal
Quality is so Easy, Why Settle for Less?
Quality is an Attitude
Increase Your Success by Increasing Quality
"I am truly blown away."
"If you're looking for immediate results, try applying the principles presented in this
"This book has inspired me to raise the bar in all areas of my life, and with your simple and realistic
approach, I know that I can!"
Definition of Quality
When you talk about quality in regard to a product or activity, you are
talking about how good it is. But that doesn't help much, because then you
have to define "good." So let's take a different approach, and find a
common factor of everything human that we can use to discuss
We will ignore natural phenomena, and look only at human
actions. We have no control over lightning and sunsets and mountains and
hurricanes, so no matter how good or bad, pretty or ugly they are, there
is no point in trying to rate their quality. Is one uncut diamond "better"
than another? Nope. They are just rocks. Only when a person picks them up,
and starts to look at their potential futures, do they begin to acquire
What did these rocks gain? A purpose. Maybe this is the
common factor we need. Actions have purposes. Products have purposes.
Natural phenomena do not have purposes, unless a person assigns a purpose
to them. Otherwise, they just are.
Every purpose has a value
attached to it. The man who stacks up blocks as high as he can before they
fall over attaches some value to stacked-up blocks. He might be the only
one, but so what? To him, a stack of 52 blocks is more valuable than a
So try on this definition for size: quality is the
degree to which a product or action fulfills its purpose, and that degree
of quality has a value. This definition allows for the possibility of
"high quality" or "low quality" or anything in between.
The purposes of actions and products can be very complex. Take the action of
driving to work. A full statement of that action's purpose might be "to
move the car safely over the roads between here and work within a specific
maximum time period and using the minimum amount of gas, without breaking
laws, and while following the rules of road etiquette." A person can
fulfill some parts of that purpose completely, while failing miserably in
other parts. How do you measure the quality of that action? How valuable
It doesn't really matter. Quality measurements are
essentially arbitrary. They vary from person to person. Different judges
at the Olympics assign different scores to the same action. You might
think you are doing a good job at work, but your boss disagrees. Or you
might think you could be doing your job better, but your boss is very
happy with your level of quality. So this definition of quality is not
Nowadays, quality has another definition. Quality
is often used to mean "superiority" or "superior." At a minimum, this
means "better than average." More often, it means "generally agreed to be
significantly better than others in its class."
Here we have a
useful definition. It is relatively easy to agree on the class of actions
or products one is comparing, and after that, most people will usually be
able to agree on which ones in that class are the cream of the crop. If
they can't, they can always agree on a new, narrower definition of the
class they are comparing, until differences begin to be obvious within the
For example, in the class of all swimmers,
Olympic swimmers are all quality swimmers. But in the class of Olympic
swimmers, only a few get medals or come very close, and they are the
quality Olympic swimmers. And for a product example, in the class of all
cars, all Rolls Royces are quality cars. But in the class of cars costing
over $100,000, most Rolls Royces are also-rans. Many other cars in that
class are generally agreed to be better cars.
How is Quality Achieved?
First off, quality is created. It doesn't just happen. It almost never
happens by accident, and when it does, it cannot be
Second, quality is not the starting point. Very few
actions are quality actions the first time they are attempted. Very few
products are quality products the first time they are
Third, quality is not the same as perfection. Perfection
is possible, but not necessary to achieve quality. A quality movie or a
quality car or a quality accountant might all have minor weaknesses, but
still be significantly better than other movies or cars or
Quality is achieved by taking your starting point, and
making it better. In the case of a complex action or product, as most are,
this means making all the parts better, bit by bit. A baseball player can
work on his batting, throwing, base-stealing, and many other parts of his
game I don't even know about. A painter gets better and better at all the
actions that result in a great painting, the more he learns and the more
The most complex action of all is life itself. A person
does thousands, maybe millions of different actions every day. The clear
conclusion is that to achieve a significantly better life than other
people achieve, one has only to make the parts better. Not by wishing or
hoping, but by doing the actions a little bit better than before. By
producing products a little bit better than before.
doesn't it? Yet not one person in a hundred will actually follow this easy
formula in a conscious and intentional way. Maybe not one in a thousand.
To begin with, they haven't thought of it this way. They will, sometimes,
improve some action, by practice or inspiration or being shown a way to do
something better. Such improvements are little more than random, even
haphazard. They do not lead to overall higher quality, but rather, slow
and inconstant -- and often temporary -- improvement.
those who understand this theory of overall quality improvement seldom
bother to apply it. They are comfortable with the way things are. Why make
things better if they are fine the way they are? What's the big
The big deal is that things are NOT fine the way they are!
Good businesses fail, good people lose jobs, good families fall apart,
good students lose their enthusiasm and drop out. Drivers get into
accidents. Computers stop working well. Kids turn to drugs.
lack of quality.
The Principles of Quality
Three Major Principles, four Applied Principles, and thirteen Quality
Actions, easily learned, easily applied, can completely change the level
of overall quality in the world. Yet they won't, until more people
understand that what they do affects others. Not just a few others, but
hundreds and thousands of others.
Yes, I mean you. Your actions
create much greater effects than you have ever considered. Everything you
do right and well and with quality, improves others' lives in an
ever-expanding sphere. If you brighten a person's day through providing a
quality action or product, he will brighten someone else's day, and so on.
But if something you do is not up to the quality you could have done, that
other person's day is not brightened, and may be dimmed. Whichever effect
you create will be passed on to others.
I can't make other people
do their jobs better, or raise their kids better, or create a better movie
or raise a happier cow that gives sweeter milk. But I can do my job
better, and raise my kids better, and keep my garden healthy. I can be a
bit more polite, or patient, or strict, as the situation needs, to
encourage quality in others. I can use these principles of quality, and I
Because I know how powerful they are, and I know they
I have a pretty good life, and am pretty happy, but if I
didn't know there was a way to achieve higher levels of happiness, and the
possibility of an even better life, with more time and money to accomplish
more dreams, I would be walking around with a raincloud over my head, like
Joe Btfsplk from the old Li'l Abner comics, or as gloomy as Eeyore from
Winnie the Pooh.
Read the book today, this week, this month, and
apply what you read, and keep applying it, and a year from now you will
wish you had read it years ago. Anyone Can
Improve His or Her Life: The Principles of Quality goes into much
greater depth than this little essay can, and makes everything very
Have fun with it. Let me know how it goes for