The Idea of Perfection

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Perfection has always been a fascinating concept to me. What defines perfection? How does one obtain this status? What happens after perfection? 

It took me a long time to understand that perfection is not only unobtainable but an incredibly dangerous thought to fixate on. It destroys all joy, distracts us from our experiences and causes most of us to not ever try anything.

I hear a lot people say “in a perfect world” or “when its perfect” then followed by a list of ideas and fantasies that do not exist. Even worse we use these as data points for the way we evaluate the world and make decisions. If it doesn’t look like, feel like, be like then it will be a disappointment — it won’t be perfect. A complete disappointment. There is no joy living in a world when everything is a let down.

Vacations are brutal for me. We plan for months, spend a large sum of resources, and when the time comes I am so worried about if I am enjoying the trip that I become removed. Distracted. Anxious. At least I have pictures to remember.

Why did you not write that book? Start that new business? Try out for the school play? Travel to Europe? Talk to that stranger? 

Because it was not going to be perfect.

In my notes I look at all the ideas I had and was going to do but never did. Why? Because they looked too hard to achieve perfection. 

My goal now is to try, try anything without any pretense or expectations. Maybe my idea of perfection will evolve to mean something different to me overtime.

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