The Myth Called Perfection!
You might have tried to be perfect in whatever you do, or at least tried to strive for perfection. Look around, everyone around you is striving in one way or another to be perfect- perfecting your craft, your sport, your relations- we all are trying every day to be perfect. However, the question is does anyone ever reach perfection? Is there anything like perfection or is it just a myth?
Famous men like Albert Einstein who had an exceptionally great IQ was imperfect. He lacked relational discipline which made him divorce and never have a successful marriage. Similarly, the character of Benjamin Franklin has been in question. Does this mean that perfection cannot be achieved?
Perfection- The Definition
Perfection is defined as the state of flawlessness, or supreme excellence. It is when you finish a task successfully and complete it with excellence. It is an idealist state beyond which there is no scope of improvement.
Perfection or Excellence
“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing”- said Harriet Braiker. There is a difference in striving for perfection and being excellent at what you do. Some think that perfection and excellence are the same, but that is not the case.
Perfection focuses on how things appear to others and whether they think they’re done right. It in a way sets you up for failure, draining you and making you think that you will achieve your goal. It will be an illusion that increases with your obsession to the outcome.
Excellence on the other hand is about doing the right thing. It focuses on the reason for any task rather than its outcome. It keeps you focused on what matters, motivates you and energizes to perform. There is no energy drainage as in perfectionism.
Perfectionism reduces your productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. It also damages your peace of mind. Productivity however, is built on the pursuit of excellence. Perfectionists are unable to finish things, or start things, or take initiatives to do anything because of the fear that they won’t be able to do it perfectly. They avoid doing things by the fear of being unable to deliver to some unachievable standard. This keeps them from doing things that needs to be done. Perfectionists are scared of making mistakes.
Excellence however, focuses your attention on what needs to be done and what works. It drives your attention to the positive and learns from the negative. Excellence is limitless, progressive, and can always reach for greater and greater heights. Perfection on the other hand can never be achieved.
Success depends on taking the right action at the right time. It doesn’t depend on getting things totally right the first time. Success lets you improve through feedback. Thus, it seems safe to say that success can be achieved if you strive for excellence than perfection.
The method to develop excellence is the Pareto Principle. Which means living by the 80/20 rule- when you know that 20% of your effort produces 80% of the results. This motivates and gives you the liberty to focus on each 20% that makes difference. Now, if you focus on perfection then, say if you take an hour to do one thing perfectly, you could have done five things to 80% of perfection in that hour. Achieving five things to an excellent level will lead to greater success than doing one thing to perfection.
The damage perfection does is greater than the outcomes of excellence. The benefits of aiming for excellence, ask where perfectionism has taken hold. Try turning the ethos to excellence and observe the changes. Remember that you don’t have to do things right as long as you are doing the right things.
Perfectionism is self-created unrealistic expectations that you set. It comes at a cost which is too high to pay. If there is a choice between perfection and excellence- striving for excellence is a much smarter and intelligent choice that you can make. Understand the need of the hour and work for excellence.
“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.”- Ralph Marston!