And it hit me: while there is certainly no excellence without talent, it's over-the-top enthusiasm that makes the real difference. True excellence fueled by passion doesn't have to be outwardly encouraged, even in children. It doesn't require "motivation" -- at least as we commonly practice it.
True excellence is about finding that one thing that you do well and want to do many hours a day, even when the field is muddy or your fingers bleed.
This came on the heels of her Six Things that Inspire You post.
Here are six things that inspire me: the roar of the crowd at Team Canada hockey games, companies that treat employees as adults, putting my head down to bang out some code for a cool feature and coming up several hours later with it done, summertime in Montreal, watching people come through in the clutch, and helping work through complex problems with smart people.