Maunderings of a Sleepless Philosopher, part 3

This one’s not specifically related to health, but it reflects my own personal approach to life in general, and may be a helpful viewpoint for some.  Anyway, it is  what’s keeping me up at 3:30 in the morning, so here goes!

                                      STRIVE FOR PERFECTION, NOT EXCELLENCE.

“Seek perfection and you will achieve excellence.  Seek excellence and you will do a pretty good job.” 

This kinda goes against traditional advice, doesn’t it?  Most experts say you should only attempt to do an excellent job, because the excruciating panting after perfection – flawlessness in every detail, is overly time consuming, very stressful, and ultimately impossible anyway.  While on the surface this sounds like good advice, there is a better approach.  This one flips their logic right around and gives a more thorough and realistic viewpoint. 

I submit that the very definition that these experts use for perfection is itself flawed.  It is at least irrelevant.  Why?  Any endeavor has a set “time of accomplishment optimum.”  Simply stated. you allot the best amount of time for the project.  If completing every tiny detail exceeds this optimum, how can we attribute the final flawless product as “perfect”?  It is actually a pretty bad job if it leads to the inability to perform other items on the agenda.  So it is far from perfect. 

Perfection in behavior must take into account the human element of imperfection.  There must always be a margin for error, there must always be a time consideration.  Therefore the actual “perfect” job is really the best one possible when all factors are considered.  In other words what is the best possible thing to be doing at any given moment?  If we do that we are performing perfect behavior.   Now even this is not possible at every given moment, but this is what we should seek.    It is perfection! 

One last item, as the opening quote suggested, being imperfect we usually fall a tiny bit short of our complete objectives.  You know – the old “shoot for the stars and you will at least get the moon” bit.  If you strive for excellence there is always that tiny bit better you could have done, something you “left on the table”.  If you strive for a perfect job – keeping in mind what is “the best possible with time requirements considered”, you will do the best job possible for you.  Furthermore doing the best possible for you is actually a perfect objective, isn’t it?  It is the only “real world” approach. 

So always strive for perfection.  Just understand what that means to you.    Now I’m off to attempt the perfect night sleep.  At least whats left of it!

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About Warren Dostie

Fitness trainer, author and avid anti-aging specialist. Age 55
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