How many times have you looked at the cover of any menís magazine and thought, "My God, Carmen Electraís just perfect!" Ė only to immediately deem her out of your league? (Substitute for any model of your choice, if you will.) Or, if youíre a girl, that your body could never be anywhere near as perfect?
I know, right?
Perfection is, pretty much by definition, something unattainable. So why do people keep striving for it?
While everyone may not literally be striving for perfection, we sure do tend to act like itís a real thing, Ė and then ultimately feel bad about how itís beyond our reach.
Iím willing to bet that 100% of anyone reading this has, at some point in their lives, compared themselves or something they did to someone or something else that they considered perfectly flawless, only, then, to feel imperfect Ė and, in turn, inferior.
To a certain extent, this is what made me quit playing the guitar. I thought that I could never possibly be as outerwordly gifted as Dimebag Darrell. Ė And when I tried pushing myself towards his levels of speed, all I got was beginning signs of tenosynovitis!
When we do this to ourselves, weíre unconsciously being self-destructive. By holding ourselves to preposterously unfair standards, we fixate ourselves in a sense of inferiority. We get used to thinking of ourselves as being of lesser worth.
What makes this type of thought and behavior downright dangerous is that itís self-affirming: The lesser we think of ourselves, the more we will tend to see perfection anywhere but ourselves, thereby effectively downward-spiraling deeper still into low self-esteem and depression.
"Well, damn. Then whatís the good news?" Glad you asked:
The notion of perfection Ė flawlessness; precise accuracy etc. Ė doesnít even apply to our daily lives!
Unless youíre dealing with geometry or mathematical concepts (even which, for all intents and purposes, are merely principal human constructions), there is no such thing as "perfection".
Now say it with me:
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "PERFECTION"!
One manís masterpiece is another manís garbage. Even my favorite books, movies, and albums could be improved upon one way or another. Hell, even Carmen Electra probably has some sort of cosmetic flaw or irregularity (of which I wish to remain blissfully unaware).
By and large, "perfection" is an infinity-multiplied notion of one or more positive qualities. Ė An idealized matter of personal opinion. Which, for the record, does not equal "truth".
However, that doesnít mean that the idea of perfection is utterly useless. On the contrary, we can use perfection as a means of motivation.
When used right, perfection should be considered nothing but a principal ideal to pursue Ė not to ultimately attain. If we aim for perfection, we canít help but improve a little all the time. Itís when we expect perfection that we set ourselves up for failure.
As the saying goes, "Strive for progress, not perfection". Or, as another saying goes, "Aim for the moon. Even if you miss, youíll land among the stars".
(Whichever you prefer).
Or, as my personal favorite goes:
I say never be complete. I say stop being perfect. I say letís evolve.