Perfection is an ideal to which many of us aspire. The good news is that we’ll never attain it.
Now, if you’re thinking “that’s good news?”, you’re not alone. The vast majority of us would consider perfection what we’d all want…if we could achieve it. If you’re among that group, you’d be wrong. Let’s find out why.
Dark side of perfection
The first thing we need to realize is that nothing is all good or all bad. There are advantages and disadvantages to every choice we make, outcomes we enjoy and those we live with simply because they’re byproducts of the choices we make. This reality is contrary to…and flies in the face of…our perception that perfection is something we desire.
A second element stems from not considering the consequences of being perfect. Imagine being so good at what you do that there’s nothing new to learn, no way to improve on your skills and abilities. What would your life be like from that point forward?
Initially you probably thought “Great! I can’t make a mistake. I won’t have to deal with the consequences of my mistakes. What could be better?”
But, upon further reflection, you realize that life would be boring. There’s nothing new to learn, no sense of accomplishment because there’s no possibility of improvement. Your interest would wane. Your life would be one continuous series of flawless efforts that spawned little, if any satisfaction, no passion or desire for the future, and no escape from the boredom. You know from personal experience how much joy you get when you solve problems…even if they’re of your own creation.
Bright side of imperfection
As you face the two realities identified above, you come to realize that your life is happier, more enjoyable, more interesting and more satisfying when you have a sense of accomplishment. That sense of accomplishment can only be had because we cannot be perfect. That’s why I say “The good news is that we’ll never attain it [perfection].”
When you feel yourself wishing you were perfect or bemoaning imperfections, remind yourself that it’s these imperfections that make life worth living. It’ll not only change your outlook on life, you’ll rid yourself of the fear, anxiety and frustration that so many suffer.
For our kids
When you see your kids decry the mistakes they make, get down on themselves because they’re not perfect, demean themselves because they didn’t get the outcome they desired, remind them that without these challenges…these feelings of inadequacy…they could not experience the joy of achievement. As this message registers with them you’ll see a dramatic shift from despondency to highly-energetic attitudes and behaviors.
Of course, they’ll find it easier to believe you if they see you live that way consistently.