“Perfection’s unattainable but it isn’t unapproachable.” – Peter Watt
Many people warn of the dangers of striving for perfection. In a world that is constantly moving and changing, that’s quite a wise standpoint, as what is perfect on one day might not be on the next. However, I would argue that, if you can hold the concept of ‘perfection’ lightly, and not become obsessed with it, its pursuit can help you to grow, and become flexible and resilient in both your work and home life.
One of my personal mantras is this…
“You must always strive for perfection yet be comfortable with the knowledge that perfection is not possible.”
It is a saying that I repeat to myself often, as I believe it helps me to search for growth and creativity, especially during times when I’m feeling a bit bored or uninspired. Here are some more reasons why I think looking for perfection can be very helpful…
1. It Keeps You Interested
As you may know, if you have read a select few of my previous entries, one of my two careers (writing being the other) is acting. When working on a show that runs for a length of time, there can come a point where boredom sets in, when you could be convinced that you have found all of the details and nuances in the script or show. It is perfectly acceptable to plod along and do the same thing night after night, but after a while, you tend to lose your love for it. When I begin to feel like this I ask myself, “are there any parts of this that could be better? Is there a moment I haven’t perfected yet?” This striving for moments of perfection keeps me interested. It keeps me engaged. This can be applied to any industry. If you are bored, consider if there is anything (could just be a little thing) that you could look to perfect.
2. Forces You to Listen and Engage
After doing things the same way for a long time, one tends to disconnect. If I can use the acting analogy again… when a show is new, you are still paying attention to everything and everyone, making sure that you respond where you need to respond, be where you need to be, make work what needs to work for the performance to hold together as a whole. Once this initial stage is over, it is natural to eventually move into autopilot, and disengage to an extent. However, if you are looking for new opportunities to improve and perfect all the time, you begin to listen and engage with your surroundings once more, making your performance (whether on stage or in an office) much more creative, energetic and innovative.
3. It Keeps You Current and Adaptable to Change
Striving for perfection and hence engaging consciously with the world you are operating within, helps to keep you resilient to change. It also helps you to stay current. As stated before, what is perfect in today’s world may not be perfect in tomorrow’s world. If you are used to searching for perfection on a daily basis, you will be aware of how the world is altering around you, and you will be personally acclimatised to dealing with said alterations. This means, that when a big, unexpected change comes along, you are likely to be more resilient to its impact, and more able to adapt what you are doing to it.
4. Perfection Is A Good Foundation to A Strong Work Ethic
If you are always looking for ways to perfect the execution of your job, that focus is likely to underpin the development of a strong work ethic. Work ethic is something not often talked about in the workforce, but it is absolutely a desirable trait. But again, be warned, perfection is not to be obsessed over, but rather used as a focus for, little by little, growing your own skillset and realising the potential of the business you are working within.
By Chris Thomson
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