Perfection is a fantasy. It’s not attainable, as none of us are perfect. It’s also insidiously dangerous because the pursuit of perfection raises expectations of yourself, of others, and of things around you that you can’t control. Which, in the end, can lead to unhappiness.
So how do you accept that there is no ideal? That there is no such state of perfection? That, no matter how hard we try, we will be caught in an endless loop of trying to finish a job perfectly, or with 100% completion, when, in fact, that will never happen? That our efforts to learn the piano, or to write novels, or to be a better dancer or cook or fill-in-the-blank will never truly be reached unless we learn to bypass perfection, or learning, in favor of practice?
And if we understand that on a logical level, why do we continue pursuing perfection anyway?
Lots and lots of questions…
“In a world that conditions us to obsess about outcomes while encouraging us to multitask rather than focus on a single goal, it’s easy to undervalue the importance of practice.”
These are wonderful words of wisdom from a recent post by ExperienceLife.com, which reminds us that “an attachment to results (which we can’t control) rather than to the process (which we can control) is what causes us to feel perpetually discontented.” It’s all about a shift in perception.
Hmmm. I think they’re onto something here because when we focus on an outcome we experience stress, anxiety, and a lack of presence. We’re never truly in the moment. And the next thing we know, the moment (or the hour, or the afternoon, or an entire day) is gone and there’s no way of getting it back. No way of reclaiming what has been lost due to the time spent pursuing a perfect goal rather than enjoying the simple pleasures of the process along the way.
So how do we avoid getting caught in that mire? By practicing, rather than perfectioning. Read here to find out more. 🙂
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Excellent post and a good reminder. You hit it right on the head when you talked about living in the moment. When I get anxious about my work, things that happened in the past, and what the future may hold, I remind myself to live in the moment. It helps calm me down.
Love your post. I also just read the article on practicing. It’s a very smart take on mindfulness. It takes it out of the vacuum and can sometimes feel like and puts it, well, into practice. I’ll try to remember next time a get stressed out about wanting to achieve the perfect result. Thanks for sharing!
An 18-year-old who just registered to vote thought she wouldn’t in this presidential race. Asked why, she said both candidates appear to be flawed. I assured her, we always only have human beings as candidates. There will never be one who is perfect. Each will emphasize the other’s shortcomings and the choice will appear to be the one who is the least objectionable. However, this time, one has an amazing education and work experience and has an remarkably experienced helpmate. The new voter is thinking it over.