There are certain instances in which we don’t move forward with something or bring it to fruition because we feel it’s not perfect. Whatever it might be, we keep refining and revising, changing it around and mulling it over; which then devolves into procrastination and postponement and we don’t finish it because it never seems ‘perfect’. We second guess ourselves. We give up. What’s the use? It’s not perfect.
News Flash: Perfection is Subjective. Things are rarely ever truly perfect.
Perfection is a wily and elusive beast. It’s a trap, a construct of the ego trying to gain control. Perfection is fleeting; it is shifting and can turn on a dime. It breeds unrealistic standards that are very difficult to live up to.
Tweaking and revising are part of the process of most any endeavor. It’s the way we improve upon it, refine it to be what we want it to be, but when falling short of perceived perfection stop us in our tracks and keeps us from moving forward, the pursuit of perfection becomes counterproductive.
Think about something as simple as keeping your home clean (relatively speaking depending on who you share your space with). You know it’s going to get messy again and yet you continue cleaning it because to not do so results in, well an even bigger mess. Trash piles up along with dirty dishes and laundry. Dust bunnies grow to biblical proportions under the couch if not regularly attended to. The state of cleanliness in your home is rarely perfect because you live there and life is messy. Keeping your home clean is a process. Chances are you are a relatively sane human being and you understand this. You don’t just give up and stop cleaning your house because it’s only going to get messy again. You stay on it, you keep at it and you keep moving. And while you may achieve a perfectly spotless kitchen at days end, you know that as soon as someone wakes up and makes coffee and breakfast the state of cleanliness in your kitchen will change. You accept this and you release control. And the whole process begins again.
So why does the pursuit of perfection trip up in other areas of our lives? Whether it’s a fitness regimen, a diet, a creative project, a career goal…pick your prospect…we can get derailed in the pursuit of perfection.
Chances are we’re doing the best we can at a given moment. Some days we have 120% to give and some days we have only 20%. Most days it’s somewhere in between but let’s be real; we’ve all had those days when ‘Good Enough’ has to be good enough. Most times we strive to do better because we feel that ‘good enough’ is just barely making the grade, is reserved for unmotivated slackers and we’re capable of so much more. We beat ourselves up at both ends of the spectrum because we’re either behaving like a slacker or we can’t seem to achieve perfection despite our best efforts.
There is a space in between these two pendulum swings.