Is Perfection Your Goal?


Have you reached that pinnacle of success with your appearance, your sport or career that you consider perfection?

If so, you can stop reading and consider yourself, well – perfect.


As for the rest of us, we will continue practicing, working, and planning for that moment of truth. Those messages in the back of our minds that won’t leave us alone may sound like this: Practice makes perfect. You can do anything you want if you set your mind to it. Nothing is impossible.


I suppose if we starve ourselves and work things out well with our plastic surgeons, we could look as perfect as we want. If we devote our energy, time, and accept every resource available, we could be the Olympic contender or win the game. We could even be hailed as perfect in our jobs. If we can be anything we set your mind to, can we be assured that we will be elected president someday?


Is becoming perfect or looking perfect really everything it’s cracked up to be? The question that each person should answer for themselves is; What do I hope to gain from perfection? I think all of us really want to be loved and accepted without having to be perfect all the time.


There is a healthy way to work toward “perfection” and of course, very unhealthy approaches. Seeking perfection can drive a person to avoid failure and look exclusively for the approval of others. Constant comparison and seeking a flawless performance in order to avoid rejection or disapproval is one way to set yourself up for certain failure. Another issue is that perfection can arguably be unattainable or unrealistic. It can be considered an abstract notion.


We all want to do a good job at most things but sometimes, especially when something is important to us, we strive for perfection. Our youngest generation are the most likely to experience difficulty finding a rewarding career and feeling happy within their own skin thanks to some of the messages they hear. Most of those phrases are meant to be helpful but can be misinterpreted easily.


Healthy striving toward any goal involves accepting the possibility of failure and maybe even acknowledging the value and learning experience that comes when we miss the mark. When working toward an accomplishment, it is less stressful to include a certain amount of grounding in “the now”. Living only for the moment of attaining perfection or missing out on celebrating moments of achievement rob us of the essence of life. Enjoying the experience of trying our hardest and accepting that we are enough despite coming in second is one way to build self-worth.


Healthy messages to help our youth and ourselves succeed in life begin with focusing on growth and achievement by encouraging problem solving and accepting challenges. If we are procrastinating, it is a good sign that we are too concerned with the outcome being perfect. But if we try, try again, and yet work a little harder or differently we can indeed see productivity.


Encouraging excellent through effort is proven to be a healthy way to instill self-efficacy and a drive for success despite that moving target called perfection.


Messages that may be more helpful for us all include: practice makes for improvement, you can do great things with hard work and effort, and strive to be the best you possible. Besides, if you are enjoying the journey of your achievements, each increment of movement toward your goal will be fulfilling even if you never quite make it to be president of the United States.


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