Season 3 – Episode 01

The Beauty of an Excellent Life


Photography by Gregory Berg

What Drives Us to Pursue Excellence?

Have you spent years building your one business or brand, honing your craft, refining your core skill set to build out a set of services around your distinct expertise?

Or do you experiment with multiple fields, crossing boundaries to pursue excellence with your diverse background? Fearlessly shifting shapes and testing your versatility in new spaces?

Is your motivation to excel at your work born from a need to be the best? Or are you driven by something deeper?

Today, Jeffrey introduces us to the focus of Season 3, an exploration of the beauty of pursuing a life of excellence. He shares two different approaches to excellence, comparing the song of a wood thrush with that of a lyrebird and offering examples of legendary creatives who fit into each category. Jeffrey also reflects on what motivates us to excel, challenging the idea that we’re driven solely by the desire to compete and survive. Listen in for insight around how we’re motivated by our admiration for others and learn how the beauty and sorrow of the human condition inspires us to “sing”—and create exceptional experiences for each other.

Are you a wood thrush or a lyrebird?

Key Takeaways

[1:38] Season 3’s focus on the beauty of an excellent life

  • Transcend cultural ideals of success
  • Excel at what we do AND how we do it

[3:43] The wood thrush’s approach to the pursuit of excellence

  • Learns core phrase, builds out three-part song
  • Create variations to develop 50 distinct pieces

[5:18] What drives the lyrebird’s pursuit of excellence

  • Biological need to outdo rivals and protect legacy
  • Beauty of yearning + sorrow of human condition (Legend of Three Sisters)

[9:22] Examples of celebrated wood thrushes and lyrebirds

  • Lyrebirds Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Pharrell Williams
  • Wood thrushes Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday

[11:24] What motivates us to excel

  • Desire to compete and survive
  • Ability to admire other people
  • Capacity to appreciate beauty

[15:40] What to expect in upcoming episodes

  • Dialogue with Charlie Gilkey on Start Finishing
  • Excel at finishing best work despite challenges

Season 3: Gregory Berg

Gregory Berg is a veteran photographer, multimedia storyteller, and the host & producer of Life on Purpose, a podcast that explores how to lead a more intentional life. Since he began his career as a professional photographer in 2004, Gregory has traveled the world seeking to capture the light and beauty that connects us all.

Gregory’s quest has led him to visit breathtaking destinations and photograph amazing humans, including world champion skateboarder Tony Hawk and distinguished entrepreneurs at Camp GoodLifeProject, a summer camp for adults where he has served as a photographer for the past five years.

After realizing the power of mindfulness and intention to infuse creative expression with transformational power, Gregory has developed projects (coming soon) to share this revelation with others. In the meantime, he posts stunning iPhone photography with his reflections on the world around him each day on Instagram.

For a brief primer on mindful photography, see his post written for Digital Photo Mentor. To see more of Greg’s photography, visit his website:

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Each week brings you in-depth conversations with leaders, stories from change-makers, and provocative ideas from artists and scientists – all designed to inspire you to shape your best work with more possibility, impact, and – yes – wonder.