Perfection is overrated. It’s also BORING.
Come on, let’s be real … none of us are perfect; not even the moral enforcement police who like to think they are, when they shoot their disapproving glances your way without knowing anything about you.
I’ll be the first to say that I come from a family line of imperfect people. On that subject, who doesn’t? They were good, kind hearted people who raised me well. I had a really positive upbringing and so much love and happiness, but I won’t pretend that they were perfect or angelic. I know their imperfections and they did too, but those imperfections are what made them human, so all I can say is, thank goodness for that! I’m so glad I had REAL role models, rather than fakes pretending to be perfect. Everyone has good and bad aspects, but one thing I know is that you can choose which ones you’re going to let dominate throughout the journey that is life.
When I get things wrong – even going back as far as childhood – I have instinctively known it afterwards, even though I didn’t always understand why. I can be hard on myself when I make a mistake, but it doesn’t mean I’ve never made them. I’ve always been my harshest critic and there has never been a time in my life when I haven’t disciplined myself and LEARNED from my mistake.
Thankfully this has always balanced out the fearless and impulsive aspects of me. It doesn’t make me perfect by any stretch of the imagination, because I’m not; nor do I pretend to be (you might have noticed). I just choose to always improve because I hate it when I let myself and others down. That’s accountability, and the ongoing process of personal excellence that I’ve mastered, and it’s a consistent life choice.
Here’s my reasons WHY perfection is overrated:
Striving for Perfection Means You’ll Only Do 10% of the Things You Want to Do.
When you focus on finishing one thing before you can start another, you’re limiting your creativity and productivity. If you spend too much time “perfecting” something, you’re likely doing it at the expense of moving on to the next thing. Perfectionists have higher blood pressure, anxiety, and mental health problems. This almost goes without saying and has been backed up in numerous studies, but if you expect perfection, you’re going to have higher stress levels which will affect your overall mental and physical health. This is because perfection is impossible to achieve! You’re always chasing the elusive result! Relaxation, meditation, and “slow days” are hard to come by for people who are always pushing to make everything perfect. It’s better to accept your inevitable fate that you will NEVER be perfect, as it is the quickest route to the outcomes you seek.
No Time is EVER the RIGHT TIME.
The act of simply DOING SOMETHING over nothing puts you in an elite group of people. In so many cases, whether it’s right or wrong, taking any type of action means that you’re alive and learning something new, rather than sitting on the sidelines watching your life pass you by. Signing up for a class even if it’s not the perfect time, turning in an assignment even though you know you could have done more, etc. There are hundreds of examples where the majority of people will agonize until things are perfect and in this pursuit, some never end up doing anything at all, thinking it’s not good enough! Doing nothing is the ultimate life failure. Getting something “good enough” out for the world to see and which you can improve upon over time, is a far better outcome. People who focus on perfection, also don’t like to make any decisions, fearing the worst repercussions. Yet DOING something, even if it is a mistake, means that you are learning and growing as a person, rather than avoiding the realities of life.
Failing Fast Can Shorten Your Learning Cycle.
Seeking perfection doesn’t bring the biggest life learnings. Failing FAST does. “Fail fast” is a famous maxim when it comes to personal development and life mastery, because if you’re going to fail, it’s best to do it early at a time when you have the time and resources to turn it around. If you’re striving to be perfect and thereby don’t learn much, you could fail when it’s too late or at a time when it’s difficult to do anything about it.
Focusing On Perfectionism Takes Your Focus Away From the Things that Really Matter.
If you’re doing anything you can to attain perfection, you are spending way too long on only one thing! The irony in it all, is that nothing even close to perfection can be achieved, without making the mistakes first and learning from these to find the right path.
Doing SOMETHING – ANYTHING – will Start to Expose Shallow Fears.
Similar to failing fast, you may not know what you fear until you give something a shot. You thought you were afraid to fail, but maybe you’re really afraid to succeed. The sooner you can identify your fears, the sooner you can put measures in place to work through them.
Collaboration and Perfection Don’t Mix.
As people, we collaborate in all facets of our life including work, friendships, and romantic and family relationships. Collaboration requires iteration and being open to feedback in both directions – if you believe you are perfect, you’re not going to play well with others.
It Isn’t What You Do ALL or SOME of the Time; it’s What You Do MOST of the Time.
It’s something I live by. There’s never a “perfect time”, and you can never get everything right in your life, as much as you might like that. However, if you’re able to perform well most of the time, it can make up for the times when you have made mistakes; those times when you’re very, very far below “perfect”. Perfection isn’t ever possible, but spending more of your life doing something well is. That’s why I focus on personal excellence; I strive to do and be better all the time. That’s where all of my focus and energy goes.
Perfection is Impossible.
Every physical thing is in a constant state of change, so even if you think something’s perfect, it won’t be perfect for long. Give it up. It’ll take a load off.