Perfection: without defect, flawless
Excellence: of or pertaining to the highest or finest quality.
These definitions come from the American Heritage Dictionary. Which one to you aspire to?
In the USA, where bigger is better and more is much better, excellence often gets passed over in favor of perfection. This kind of thinking is detrimental because perfection is simply unattainable—impossible. Everyone’s got different vision of “perfect” in their head and even that’s constantly changing. Perfect doesn’t exist.
Excellence, however, is nearly always achievable–and worth going for. We have a more common picture in our head about what excellence looks like than perfection. There’s a bit more latitude in “excellence”. We know when we’ve accomplished something with excellence.
Consider the “perfect relationship.” There’s about a 99.9% chance that the two people involved have different ideas of what a perfect relationship looks like. Therefore, when it’s perfect for me, it’s not perfect for the you–and vice versa. However, I’d be willing to bet that when both are willing to have an ‘excellent relationship’ that they’d both be more satisfied. They can agree on excellence, but perfection simply reinforces—imperfection.
Besides, in trying to create something “perfect”, you become so afraid of making a mistake—of being less than perfect—that you become rigid in your thinking (there’s only one right way to do this/that. Then your heart and mind is closed to other things that could be excellent. You become fearful of making mistakes rather than making mistakes confidently.
So, what happens when you shoot for perfection? I’d love to hear your comments. There’s a spot for them right below.