I’m thankful for being perfect and you should be too
Perfect is not a state of being, it is something you achieve for a few moments each day with a strong practice. Be thankful when it…
To be clear, perfect is not a state of being, it is something you can achieve for a few moments each day with a strong practice. When it happens, I am thankful.
In Maslow’s work on peak performance (done after the after the hierarchy of needs) he writes about the benefit of peak states as allowing us to discover “heaven” and says something like
Peak performance allows us to replace immature concepts in which Heaven is like a country club in some specific place, perhaps above the clouds with the idea that Heaven is all around us, always available in principle, ready to step into for a few minutes. It’s anywhere — in the kitchen or the factory, or on a basketball court — anyplace where perfection can happen, where means become ends or where a job is done right.
I was talking to a friend the other day about the need to project perfection as an identity and how this effort requires a lot of energy that would be better spent on other, more fulfilling and productive things — like working to eliminate distractions in the office and at home, finding and maintaining peak performance and flow state in our day to day work and interactions with others etc. etc.
For most of us, some daily effort flows toward the creation of an image for the outside world to consume and at times, you fall into the trap of crafting, burnishing and projecting the specific, “perfect you” into the universe. When the belief in a perfect you existing in the eyes of others takes over, it’s an endlessly exhausting pursuit. You imagine perfection in the eyes of the world and come up with objective measures of success that others will be able to see or understand. In this effort, you will fail a lot and when you succeed, it’s never good enough.
When you chase perfection, you forget that by the time you achieve the goal, it is likely to seem too small or not enough. The world will have moved on, your definition of success will have changed and your understanding of how success is defined in the minds of those you are working to impress will have evolved. In my experience this change only happens in one direction — and the finish line just moves further and further away.
In this mindset of not-enoughness you are trapped operating in a situation where your sphere of concern is much larger than your sphere of influence — you have no control because you outsource your confidence to your imperfect understanding of the judgement of others. You become dependent on them for approval and lose the ability to insource your confidence and sustain its growth based on the alignment of your actions with your goals and values.
I think this is why the most impactful people tend to embrace the obsession with crafting, polishing and projecting a product into the world. This creates days that are rewarding, fulfilling and a sense of accomplishment in the work itself. It allows for moments of perfection to be appreciated.
So, this next week as you reflect on what you are thankful for, remember that perfection is not a thing like a specific amount of money in your bank account or company size that we imagine existing around some corner of our life’s journey. It is all around us and always available for us to discover and enjoy for a few moments. It’s anywhere — at home, on a call with a friend, in an e-staff meeting, in a 1:1 or a sales call — anyplace where perfection can happen, where effort and preparation meet focus and a job is done right.
Be thankful that you are perfect every time it happens. In the moments in between, focus on what you are currently doing because in that moment, nothing is more important.