If you’re a person who’s after perfection in your endeavours and who often experiences a lot of stress for not completing the tasks given to you perfectly, then this article is definitely for you.
I am a perfectionist. Everything I do must be completed perfectly. Since my skill set is far from perfection, it’s literally impossible to achieve the goals I’m setting up for myself. Here’s the thing though — the perfect skill set does not exist, at least not in the way we’re expecting it to be. To be perfect in something or even everything means that we do not make any mistakes what so ever. Living without making any mistakes is a pipe dream, because as you know we all make countless mistakes every single day. It’s literally gotten to the point where we don’t even notice making them.
Let’s say you’re in college. In this case, perfection would mean that you’ll get maximum points in every single test. Possible, but unlikely. No matter how hard you’ll study, you will probably mess up at least one thing in a year that will prevent you to get that perfect report card. Maybe you’ll decide to go out to meet with your buddies on a new years eve and end up drinking a few cocktails. Maybe the alcohol you’re consuming destroys an important brain cell that will make you lose the point out of a hundred in a test that’s happening few days later.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
Okay, let’s say this does not happen and your brain cells are all alive and well. But instead of drinking you’ll stay up late on the night before the test to study. In result of this you’ll get less sleep than your body needs and end up with a fuzzy brain in the morning. This is not an ideal state for you to write your test in and will probably make you lose some points.
Let’s say this does not happen either and you’re in a great state for writing an exam and your groundwork has been the best it can be as far as studying goes. If you keep this up, you’ll end up with no hobbies and without a satisfying social life. Yes, you’ll achieve your dream for college, but you’ll lack in other areas of your life. By lacking in other areas of your life you will not feel good and that’s a given. A scientist whose personal life is a complete mess and has many troubles with her relationships will not produce the best work, let alone the perfection.
Now if you were to focus on your personal life, your work will suffer. I don’t mean that it will be horrible, I mean it will not be perfect simply because you haven’t been spending that much time on it. You can always do more and when you do more, you’ll get better. But keep this in mind that by excelling in one area, another will suffer. Perfection is not realistic.
There is a special kind of state that’s the closest to perfection. Since it’s best we are able to achieve, it can very well be called perfection. So what is it?
It’s being okay with your imperfection. Be perfectly fine being imperfect. Achieve perfection by being imperfect. We do not need to do everything right nor should be expected to. It’s much more beautiful to fail and then succeed the next time. Failing makes us desire the thing even more, therefore making it even more valuable and worth spending our time on. This is the way how I can still be a perfectionist, just in a different and healthier way. Shift your focus from being always right to always being. It will implement a drastic change in your life and will make living more enjoyable. I live by the rule that I don’t need anything, but I should want everything. This will allow me to enjoy everything I have, including my failures aka learning experiences, but in the other hand always strive for more. To me this is the combination of being a perfectionist and also a realist. It’s the best place to be at.
“Perfection itself is imperfection.”