I was having lunch with a friend recently and, two mouthfuls in to the sandwich, she proclaimed it was excellent. The excellent part apparently was the taste, texture and visual appeal. Then another friend was talking about her views on the excellent and not so excellent garden centers around Cheshire. So what is it that makes something or someone excellent? Clearly it’s a subjective experience but is probably about being the best it or you can be against various criteria. The criteria being the subjective part. However I’ve noticed that we tend to find it easier to label sandwiches, plants, large entities and anonymous things as excellent rather than people. I suspect this is because we can be idle and find it easier to identify criteria for excellence in these situations. I also think it’s to do with the element of risk and reputation. If you think a sandwich is excellent and next time it isn’t, so what. If you say James is an excellent web designer and next time he isn’t, do we feel there is a part of our self and ability to judge that’s flawed? Or is it by saying they’re excellent we put them on a pedestal and then feel hurt when they fall off, forgetting to realise we put them up there in the first place. So then excellence is a standard, a clear specification of criteria which when fulfilled, is the best it can be. Perhaps some of the problems come from unconsciously assuming that everyone else would come up with the same set of criteria you did, or that this criteria is even repeatable.