Why you should strive for progress and not perfection

Perfectionism is the pursuit of the worst in ourselves. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things extraordinarily. It’s not about perfect.

It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.

A gentleman once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, “Do you need two statues of the same idol?”

“No,” said the sculptor without looking up, “We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage.”

The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage. “Where is the damage?” he asked.

“There is a scratch on the nose of the idol,” said the sculptor, still busy with his work.

“Where are you going to install the idol?” The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar 20 feet high.

“If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?” the gentleman asked.

The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said,

“I know it and God knows it!” Moral: The desire to excel should be exclusive of the fact whether someone appreciates it or not. Excellence is a drive from inside, not outside. Excel at a task today not necessarily for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction.

Life lessons

The perfect time to start something never arrives: Procrastination is a symptom of perfection. Perfectionists prefer to wait for the perfect time to do things perfectly rather than do things when they need to be done.

The fear of not doing things perfectly is what pushes them to procrastinate.

Perfection is a moving target: When you strive for excellence, you automatically start getting better than what you were before. Whereas, perfection is a moving target, no matter how much you achieve, you are never happy.

Strive for progress not perfection: When you focus too much on perfection, you start worrying at every step. Your focus shifts to the possible criticism and failure. Then, you become the roadblock of your own progress; but you strive for progress you start to succeed faster.

Making mistakes is better than faking perfection: Making mistakes does not mean you are a failure, it only means you are trying and learning in life. So, when you make mistakes learn to accept it and move on.

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in work: When you love what you do, you perfect the job you do.

“Perfectionism is not the quest for the best. It is the pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do, will ever be good enough that we should try harder.” Julia Cameron.

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