“This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.” ~Augustine of Hippo
You may not realize it, but you are a perfectionist and perfectionism is a low standard.
Huh? Wait a minute, Skippy. You can’t call me a perfectionist and say I have low standards all in the same breath.
Well actually, I can. I can because of what you are a perfectionist about.
Perfectionism is never about the discovery of ultimate truth, it is about the enforcement of a predefined, limited perception.
It’s understandable really. You are just trying to make sense of an unruly world, perhaps to enforce a little order among the chaos. The problem is your imposed order is a limiter and true perfection is unlimited.
This is where we get to the important distinction between perfection and perfectionism. Perfectionism is actually a misnomer. It would more accurately be called perspectivism. It is about implementing a single perspective on a situation, albeit perfectly.
“Perfectionism is more about the “ism” than the perfection.” click to tweet
All right then, so how do we raise the bar? It is by the injection of freedom. From freedom, creativity can be born. And from creativity, we introduce the possibility of genius. Think of anyone you believe to be a genius. Is it more likely that they will always do everything reliably and predictably, or that they will come out of left field on a regular basis?
Genius requires a tolerance of imperfection. Paradoxically, it is out of this environment that true perfection is born. However perfect things are now, there is always something “perfecter”. If we stop at our perfectionism, how will we ever get there?
So let go of your perfectionism. Life is an upward spiral. You are not done yet. You will never be done. But consider this: if you think something is perfect now, imagine that it can be even better. Once you imagine that, realize that it can be even better than that. When you get used to this idea, you realize how limiting and even how silly it is to be a perfectionist.
Where have you been short-changed by perfectionism? Tell us about it by commenting below.
Photo credit: Mike Stimpson