Perfection and its Flaws
I don’t know if I mentioned this on the blog before, but I grew up Mormon and was seriously involved in the church, even going on a two year mission to England to spread the word. I was a true believer who had certain scriptures pounded into my head over the years including Matt. 5:48 which says “be ye therefore PERFECT even as your father in Heaven.” I tried so hard for many years to be perfect, driving myself nuts in the process. However, I eventually began to think for myself and left the church in my mid-30s. Along the way I realized, to my utter relief, that perfection in ANYTHING is simply not possible.
Even so, the idea that I must be perfect and appear perfect has always been a bit hard to shake. I do consider myself a very successful man, but I have been so very far from perfect. It makes it even more difficult to admit to a lack of perfection when you become a public speaker, write books, and are looked to as an expert. Well, here’s a big news flash: No one, not even so-called experts, do everything perfectly all or most of the time. Experts are as human as the next guy and continue to make wrong decisions, even in their own field when they should know better because it’s always easier to preach a good sermon than to live one.
So, yes, I still have a hard time with the idea that I will never accomplish perfection, that I have and will miss the mark some times and that I’ve ignored my own advice on too many occasions. High expectations come at us from all corners of our lives—from our religious community, families, co-workers, friends and even ourselves and there is no way we can meet them all or even come close. The question is, when we aren’t as successful as we hope to be, do we let it stop us from trying again?
I don’t think there is a problem with reaching for perfection as long as we know it’s about seeing how close we can get, that we are not failures when we don’t meet those high expectations. The problem with reaching perfection is that there is nothing more to reach for after that. So look at those imperfectly completed goals as a blessing. They will always give you something more to strive for and drive the passion that makes life so wonderful an experience.