Chasing Perfection is a Losing Game
Perfection is an ephemeral quality that a lot of people say they want. The bad news is that they will never have it. Not being satisfied, is called not being satisfied, always striving for more or better. That is different from someone who is constantly seeking perfection. They will never get perfection. Why? Perfection does not exist.
I had a problem with this in my life. I was never looking for perfection, but people all around me were looking for this quality in everything. There is a segment of the population who believe that, if they can’t do something perfectly, it’s not worth doing. In their defense, there are situations where it is beneficial to get as close to perfection as possible. My father was a construction project manager for many years. Construction is the one place that, if you can’t have perfect, it is best to get damned close. My first career was as a nuclear operator on a nuclear-powered submarine in thew US Navy. People want perfection (or as close to it as possible) in this area too. Then I left the Navy and got into the business world.
Business is about dealing with people. People are not perfect. Some people may appear perfect, but people are not perfect. We have flaws, like getting spinach stuck in our teeth, talking too loudly, losing our tempers, or having bad breath. Some people have annoying habits like tapping a ring on a desk or table. Some people are completely incompetent at their jobs but cling to them anyway because they have nothing else to do. People are not perfect.
Perfectionists are those people who are constantly chasing perfection. When they don’t get it, they become irritable. Then they turn on the excuse-making machine. They don’t have perfection because of someone or something else. If they can’t have perfection, they don’t want the result. They are miserable people because the world never gives them what they want, and it is always someone else’s fault.
The main reason that perfect is unattainable is that it is an objective point of reference. What might be perfect to me, is a complete disaster to someone else. It also depends on the motives of the beholder. For example, consider politics. There are, and always have been, laws passed that are open to debate. To some, they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. To others, they are complete disasters. Perfection is relative.
Chasing perfection limits your possibilities. If you are waiting to do something perfectly, you are missing opportunities to do anything at all. Your chances of doing something perfectly the first time are really bad. So give yourself the opportunity to do something new, learn something new, and improve at something new. Stop letting someone else’s concept of “perfection” getting in the way of your next big thing.
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