Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Make Improvement, Not Perfection, the Goal

I read a quote from Success Magazine the other day that really struck me:
"Make improvement, not perfection, the goal."
Sometimes I think we see a plan, a goal, a problem, and strive to kill it, to do it so well, so perfectly that we expect nothing short of a jaw-slacked, raised brow reaction from ourselves and those around us. We have a mentality that aims for perfection because we expect nothing less from ourselves. Damn over-achievers! Worse is that some of us do this almost subconsciously for it is so embedded in our mindset we find it as natural as the act of blinking.

And yet, as natural as it may seem, it's quite the opposite. Imagine the amount of pressure we put on ourselves to attack everything in such a manner. An unnecessary heaviness put upon our shoulders before we've taken even the smallest of actions. It's like walking around with a heavy bag of rocks; invisible until you tackle something with this perfection mentality and someone asks, "Dude, why are you walking around with a bag of rocks? Do you need help?" You shrug and say, "It's cool, I got it."

This is me. This was me. Is it you too?

My best friend tells me often that I forget I'm human. It's a loaded statement. Being human implies imperfection, it implies being flawed; an unquestionable truth that I am bound to make mistakesand many times over. It is simply idiotic to believe that I won't find myself meeting failure, as if I could fool myself into thinking I had that much foresightthat much power and control. I find myself sometimes paralyzed by the fear of failure.

Laughable isn't it? Such disfigurement is the beauty of being what we are. It is in the very jagged ridges of our humannessour flawed beautythat we experience the most profound lessons of life. To experience failure is to know the true value of success. To meet failure is to know that we have tried. Being human also means having the capacity to change, and to adapt quickly and greatly.

Those of us walking around with an invisible bag of rocks on our shoulders, learn to unload. Rather than striving for perfection, strive for improvementa simple shift, but no less challenging. The expectation is not to reach an outcome that is grand and glittery, but for something as simple as a having been more than what once was—more than what you once were.

That is improvement. That is remembering you are human.



  1. Good post and great reminder. I am definitely a carrot chaser in life-- always seeking the next worthy goal. Although this leaves me chasing the happiness carrot sometimes (If I can just.... THEN I'll be happy), I'm not too much of a perfectionist. I just kinda traded frustrating traits. ;)

    1. Hey Julie!! :) I like the fact that you admitted trading in frustrating traits. Hah! How true that is: in the end, we chase some form of carrot or another, whether it be perfection or improvement. ;)


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