Excellence is Achievable Perfection is Not

Can you imagine how boring a world of perfect people would be? Yet many people are unhappy because they expect themselves and everyone else to be perfect. They strive for perfection. Little do they realize, perfection is not possible. Perfection means without flaw, flawless. What a difficult legacy to live up to. When we forever fear making a mistake, life becomes as difficult as walking on eggshells.

When we don’t want anyone to see us fail, we strive for perfection. We fear making a mistake. When we strive for excellence, we want to do our best. We take pride in our performance. And if we make a few mistakes, that’s okay, too. Striving for excellence and not perfection allows us to enjoy ourselves while performing to the best of our ability, even if that includes a few mistakes.

Besides, who defines perfect—perfect husband, perfect wife, perfect kids, perfect job, perfect house, the perfect life? You or someone else? So often, our definition of perfect is based on others’ opinions and ideas. Once we get the perfect job, relationship, house, etc., how long does it remain perfect? For most of us, not long.

When a ten year-old child sings, plays the piano or plays baseball, we don’t demand perfection let alone excellence. We allow for mistakes and learning because he or she is a beginner. Why then, for ourselves, do we never seem to allow for learning, for mistakes? From the time we attempt a new skill we feel we must be perfect at it. This is why we hesitate to try new activities. It’s why our lives remain stagnant and unmoving. Striving for perfection only means disappointment.

Our life would be a far more enjoyable if we could just learn to do, without a care about how we perform. We could then try various activities where the only goal is to have fun and enjoy ourselves.

How do we convince ourselves it’s okay not to be perfect? How do we learn to accept our flaws, our faults and our mistakes? We start by always doing our best and accepting that everyone makes mistakes including us.

An excerpt from my book Happiness is a State of Mind.

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