The idea of perfection, in and of itself, is an interesting concept. Of course, many of us like the idea that there is such a thing as perfection and work diligently to achieve it. Now maybe not in everything we do, but there are those areas where we think it is possible and we set our sights to achieve it.
When you think about it, this crazy idea that something can be perfect, while on the one hand can drive us, at the same time it can also create a lot of stress and sleepless nights. So how does the idea of perfection help and hinder us, at the same time?
It is important to recognize the idea of perfection is exactly that…an idea or concept. Each of us creates a picture or concept in our minds of what perfection is and then we start taking action to create the result. For example, the future bride and groom has an idea of what the perfect wedding day will look like…the venue, the decorations, the dress, the ceremony, etc. The business person has a concept of the perfect deal.The athlete of the perfect competition. While the people around us and our environment impact our beliefs around perfection, at the end of the day, it really comes from us.
So how does it help us? Most of us like to push to achieve something bigger or better than what we have done before. We like a good challenge. The idea that something could be perfect, has us do things we never thought we could do. It allows you to learn new skills and to take on different experiences and it permits us to feel a different level of success and accomplishment. Perfection gives us something to strive for and in that regard, it can be incredibly useful.
In some cases, the idea of perfection keeps us safe. What I mean is, if you create an impossible standard which must be achieved before you are willing to send your work out into the world, then it can allow you to hide. It protects you from other’s criticism. As long as you are not content with the standard, it makes it easier when others aren’t, as well. The only downfall is, many times people do not have the same standards of perfection and you might also miss out on the praise, in the process.
So how does it hurt you?
Perfection is simply a moving target. The standard you have for yourself today, will likely change tomorrow. You are constantly growing and learning and as you do, so does your idea of perfection. With a constantly moving standard, it is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Take for example, if you are trying to write a simple letter. You can write it, then rewrite it and then write it again. At the end of the day, the question comes down to, does all the time and effort you put into it really making it perfect change the message or the result? When you get caught in trying to perfect one thing, there are many others you are not able to pay attention to.
Perfection is important because it pushes you, however you will never be perfect in everything. Give yourself a break and make sure you are spending your time on the things that really matter. Recognize that sometimes, good enough is simply perfect!