The Insatiable Lust for Perfection
Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it. Salvador Dali
Perfection is the artist’s driving force and motivation to persevere beyond. However it also becomes an impediment to growth as stagnancy sets in during the creation process. So much that the goal of creation is overshadowed by the lust for perfection. If you’re stuck in this infernal impediment and are looking to break free, read on.
Perfection is defined as a state of completeness or flawlessness. Yet the word "perfection" derives from "perficio" — "to finish", "to bring to an end." If the goal, as the word implies is to finish, why then is more time spent in being flawless than in finishing? Most often perfection is assumed to be a mile marker in the journey - a goal to be reached. Truth is, that perfection is more like the horizon - acting as something to aim towards, but not something you ever reach. Thus it ever inspires you further onwards regardless of how far you have travelled. This understanding of perfection keeps the seeker ever humble, curious, exploring and constantly evolving.
Settling for Less — Is it a Compromise?
Playing with Pareto’s principle here, I’ll make an approximation - It takes 20% of your time and effort to reach a 80% average result. To take that score to 100% however will take 80% more time and effort. Is it worth the tradeoff? That’s the question. When you look back at your past work where you went all the way upto 100%, you find flaws and in many cases, probably even hate your work :) If you’re never going to be satisfied completely with what you do, why struggle for perfection at the cost of completion. Rather than stretch yourself, your budget and your time, let the goal be to finish! So perfect result will be settling for an average job, completed in time within budget.
Being the Best at What You Do!
While it may appear as a compromise, applying this concept of perfection to your work or life processes will actually make you better at what you do. For example, If your perfectionist writing process results in one article in a week, but applying this concept of a perfect job allows you to create 4 articles a week, you will have a greater body of work in a month. Which mean more mistakes made, more insights gained, more perspectives explored and more connections made. Thus the chances of you evolving into a better writer are more. So ironically by shunning the path of perfectionism, you are actually inching closer to the mythical goal of perfection.
Be Average - Perfection is Overrated
Don’t just dismiss this read as an interesting concept or a unique perspective. Try this out now!
- Set a timer: Give yourself a deadline and stick to it
- Fix your budget: Don’t spend more than decided - money or effort
- Allow contingency: Don’t be cruel. Allow upto 20% leeway in time, money & effort
- Reward yourself: When you pull off the 'perfect job’, celebrate! Especially the flaws & imperfections…
This isn't just about increasing productivity, but about improving your sense of fulfilment and accomplishment. The concept stands true whether you’re working on mundane tasks or creative explorations. Feel free to tailor-make to your situation and don’t fret if you don’t get it right the first time.
The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement — George Will
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