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9/1/11

A Case Against Perfection

Perhaps Ray Crock, the founder of McDonalds, said it best: “It is better to be green and growing than to be ripe and rotting.” Thus is the basis of my case again perfectionism.

Picture it. In your mind see an apple at the pinnacle of perfection. The color is vibrant, the juices are succulent, the aroma is sweet and your senses are heightened. Yet, a mere twenty-four hours later, the fruit is beginning to wilt. To lose flavor. To rot. To be nothing but a past memory.

Relieve the stress. Stress is a natural part of life - a good part - and becomes destructive only when we do not allow recovery time. Nothing and no one can operate at 100% energy and 100% efficiency 100% of the time. Down time is not a waste of energy; it is a regenerator. And recovery time increases creativity to boot.

Good is good. Look at what you have done and see what is good about it. Also look at the areas for improvement. Rather than scraping the whole project, tweak the defects and continue.

Stop beating yourself up; it serves no productive purpose. Self-evaluate? “Yes”. Self-condemnation? “No. Absolutely not!” C’s are passing grades. To celebrate a C motivates to achieve B’s and A’s. To condemn C or B work, disheartens. It places nervous tension on creativity.

Go for excellence. You may question the difference in perfection and excellence as mere semantics. Maybe it is more the attitude in which a job is performed rather than the flawless finished product.

Excellence is doing quality work. Excellence is doing the best you can in an environment of learning so you can do better the next time. To be perfect smacks of getting everything just right or suffering the consequences of failing to measure up.

Excellence releases creativity to try, fail and try again. Excellence releases energy; perfection saps energy.

Enjoy the fruit of your labor. C’s are passing grades, so celebrate. You do not really enjoy anything until you share it. Good enough is good enough. Receive it – in yourself and in others.

It is difficult to get to where you want to go without acknowledging where you are now. Accepting what is mysteriously frees you to inspired action and a positive focus on success. And you begin to see that you are getting better and better.

Now, what do you think? Let me hear from you.

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