Perfect Does Not Exist in Reality ~ Part 1

Look at all the things that are in the environment you are in right now. At first glance does anything look perfect? Are the walls perfectly painted? Are any of the pictures hung perfectly? Is the floor perfectly flat? Even if something appears to be perfect in your environment, I am willing to bet that upon further inspection you will find some flaws.

Our brains put more value in our perceptions than into reality. The dictionary defines perfect as being entirely without fault or defect : FLAWLESS. Now let’s use a simple example from baseball. The ultimate pitching performance is what is known as a “perfect game.” The standard definition of pitching a “perfect game,” is a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and no opposing batter reaches base.

While our perception bestows the moniker “perfect game” on any performance that meets the above definition, in reality it does not live up to the true definition of pitching a perfect game. To do this, every single pitch the pitcher throws in that game would be so flawless that it could not be improved upon. In my mind, at a minimum this would require no batter to ever make contact with any pitch. To my knowledge this has never happened (certainly not at any higher levels of the sport).

Let’s do a little exercise… Write down the names of five great basketball players. Now write down the names of five great brands/companies, five great golfers, five great CEO’s, five great artists or musicians. How did you do? I’m guessing you have a pretty impressive list of names.

Now do a different exercise…  write down the names of five perfect basketball players. Now write down the names of five perfect brands/companies, five perfect golfers, five perfect CEO’s, five perfect artists or musicians. I’m guessing you struggled with the second exercise. If you are like most people, you were not able to come up with any names at all on the second exercise.

In reality (where we are forced to live) the truth is that good enough wins every time. I’m pretty sure all the people’s names you wrote down in the first exercise are among the best in their fields despite none of them being perfect at what they do. What would you rather be, among the best in your chosen field, or perfect?

In Part Two I will discuss what lies behind perfectionism and why I call it ‘The curse of the above average.’


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


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