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The Truth About Perfection
We often hear such phrases as “Practice makes perfect”, or as some have said in trying to add a more positive and perhaps more realistic approach to it, “Perfect practice makes perfect”. But is there really any such thing as “perfection”?
When we think of the term “perfection” we can probably get its best definition from the dictionary, which tells us that perfection is being free, or as free as possible, from all flaws and defects. Aren’t you glad that definition gives us an out by saying “as free as possible”. But, when we think of the word “perfection” we don’t always think of that part. We think of the part that indicates being free from all flaws and defects.
We see very quickly that this is an untenable position to hold for anyone, and yet there are those who, while excusing themselves from such a definition, will consciously, or subconsciously, hold others to this definition. Maybe you know someone like this. They do this by being almost overly demanding that things be “the best they can be”, which is a great thought, yet when pressed upon for more details, often even they can’t tell you what that means.
A More Doable Approach to Attaining Perfection
My approach to this is simply that we should look for specific things that can be made better and then work on those things. By doing this, we can little by little, make the entire thing as close to “perfect” as possible.
Is there some discipline in your life that isn’t perfect? Take some small step to start making progress in that area. Is your exercise routine not what it should be? Make progress by doing some exercise to restart the habit. Is there some part of your attitude that isn’t perfect? Take some small step to start working on having a better attitude. Do you easily get offended? Have a prepared response for those situations that trigger you so that you won’t take things so personally. Even if you still have the feelings, implement the prepared response anyway so that you make progress toward a new habit. Do you tend to offend others? Have a prepared approach to people so that when you find yourself beginning to go down that path, no matter how you feel, pull back and implement the prepared approach anyway so that you also make progress toward a new habit.
Progress, Not Just Perfection
It has been my experience that those who get as close as possible to “perfection” are those who are striving to make progress in life. In other words, it isn’t those who are constantly studying and talking about perfection, but those who implement whatever steps are needed in order to make progress toward perfection.
I have also found that, even among those who are making progress, they never quite make it to perfection. This is because perfection, in its purest state, is unattainable. This in itself, while it discourages those who actually think they should attain perfection, ought to set us free from that idea. The thing about progress is that you don’t have to wait to obtain perfection, or any final goal at all, but you feel great about the progress itself, and that makes for an enjoyable life all around.
I say this because we should look at the constant pursuit of perfection as just that…a constant pursuit. This life is a marathon, not a sprint. This pursuit is engaged through progress, and in reality, it’s the pursuit that can be the most enjoyable and make life the best it can be!
- Perfection, in its purest form, is not attainable. Making progress in the pursuit of perfection should be the goal of life.
- Look for specific things to make progress in, with progress being the goal, not just perfection.
- Simply talking about progress is not actually making progress. We must take some action to make actual progress.
- Life is a marathon, not a sprint, so make the constant pursuit of perfection your goal, not actually obtaining perfection.
- It’s the pursuit that makes life the most enjoyable it can be.