Arete is the Greek concept of excellence. In it’s broadest form arete is excellence of any kind, but the Greek notion of arete is living up to one’s fullest potential – being the best you can be. Arete involves developing all one’s abilities to be effective in the world. This includes developing the mind, body, and soul. The mind is developed through mental training including oratory (public speaking), rhetoric (the effective use of language), and learning the basic sciences. The soul is developed by spiritual training which includes music and aspiring to virtue. The body is developed through excercise and physical training. All of these elements were a significant part of training a Greek boy into manhood.
Arete was sometimes personified as a goddess, the sister of Harmonia and the daughter of Praxidike (a goddess of justice). As a minor goddess, there isn’t much in the way of mythological stories related to Arete, but she does play a part in one story of Heracles where he is given the choice of living a life of wealth and pleasure or a life of arete. Heracles chose to follow the path of Arete.