The Death Of Perfection

Perfection is the mask of insecurity!


I heard this recently and it stopped in my tracks because it is so true. I also want to add that it stops you from getting to the root of your problems because it allows you to indulge in the fallacy that the cause of your misery is always outside yourself. If only the perfect boss, partner, child, house, car would show up, all your problems will disappear. 


So, you chase after perfection because you think what you have is imperfect, incomplete, needs more work, could do, be or look better. In other words, you are not happy with something, someone, someplace, some quality, you feel insecure about it. You go on the hunt for perfection and spend a lifetime chasing it and only realise perhaps on your deathbed that there is no such thing as perfection.


A lot of people rather than going to the root of the problem and acknowledging they feel insecure about something and fixing the ‘why’ of their insecurity, chase after the ‘what’ which masquerades as perfection and that is exhausting because it is like chasing the horizon and never arriving.


I speak to clients all the time who feel insecure about their job or their relationship and they always think the solution is the perfect job landing on their lap or their partner having a personality transplant and suddenly becoming the perfect spouse. The other one, particularly for women because we are under pressure to look a certain way, is to think that if you have the perfect body shape, all your problems will go away. None of this is dealing with the ‘why’ and tinkering with the ‘what’ just means you keep encountering the same issues, just at different locations, or in a different partner, or in a skinnier body shape. So the hunt for perfection continues.


The question is, should the hunt be for perfection or acceptance? It is only when you accept what is, that you can really do a deep dive to work out what needs to change. That is when you can come up with a sustainable plan that you have a chance of successfully implementing. No perfection here, just plain old continuous improvement. Perfection will just make you feel wrong and keep you from starting.


How about, rather than changing jobs because your boss is a nightmare and you are underpaid, you work on your self-esteem and your communication skills (the why) to communicate your boundaries to the said nightmare of a boss and while you are there, ask for a raise? You could of course go off and get the perfect job that pays well, but there is no guarantee that the boss there will be any better. There is no such thing as a perfect anything, it is simply what you are prepared to settle for.


The point I am making is, we use perfection as our excuse and hide behind it. We use it as an excuse to give up when we should keep going. We use it as an excuse to not even get in the ring when we absolutely should be in that ring fighting for whatever we want.


The truth is, life is always a masterpiece in progress. That is the beauty of it. It is supposed to be a continuous improvement. It wasn’t, there will be no innovation, we will all be fossilised and there will be no excitement in crossing new frontiers. After all, whatever perfection is, when you achieve it, then what? 


You will never be perfect, nothing is ever perfect. Whatever it is that you are feeling insecure about, look it in the eye, come up with a plan of action which no doubt will be imperfect but go for it anyway. It is the only way your insecurity will cease to trouble you.


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