Perfection? What is that? I used to think I knew what it was when I was a kid. I now suspect nobody really does know anything, what we do all the time is just guessing or at best an educated type of guessing.
And my best guess at that time was that perfection is about doing the right thing all the time nonstop. It is about not having anything within myself that which could be called bad. And I believed that if I wasn't perfect, I could reach perfection.
I am now an adult and I know less about perfection than I did than when I was a kid. And by knowing less, I suppose I know more. Perfection seems to indicate that one will never do a mistake. That one will always do the right thing. For one, learning everything that which is good to do will take for the longest of times. In fact, it might not be possible since our lives are so short and our memory can fail us.
As examples, we will not always know for sure whether it is right to impose a higher minimun wage or to let the economy be more of a "free market". We will not know for sure whether it is better to spend more tax money on education than on the military. We might think we know but that doesn't really count as knowing. At some point, we will mess up.
And even if we knew just one right thing, out of exhaustion, distraction or just because we are in a bad mood, we could just pick the wrong choice anyway. We would do wrong and face the consequences of it. And we will feel sad if our goal was perfection. But making mistakes is what make us human.
Being ignorant, selfish, greedy, insecurities. It is a part of the human condition. A faultless person is mere fiction. Once you believe that because of just one mistake, your life is ruined. that is the biggest problem of perfectionism. Making mistakes can be seen as a learning process. Making mistakes will always be a part of learning. When we are afraid to make mistakes, we are not able to learn or grow. Being a perfectionist can therefore stop growth rather than promote it. It is that fear of failure that seems to be ingrained on the perfectionist that which not only makes it harder to learn but also to enjoy the learning process. Since one is always weary of making a mistake rather than understand the situation at hand.
We are all faulty in some level. I think the trick is to not be afraid of our inadequacies because they are changeable and improveable. Problems often arise because we think our fault will always be there and we do not try and learn from our inadequacies and maybe even find solutions around them.
I used to believe I could do anything in the world but at one point I realize I couldn't. I couldn't succeed at university as well as I suceeded in high school. Once I realize I couldn't. I gave up. I wouldn't put as much as work in school as I used to do and my grades suffered and the amount of things I learned decreased.
If I were to be put back in that scenario again, I would understand that failing happens but that life doesn't end there. You can try again. You can try a different time. You can talk to the professor, you can see what you can do to succeed. And if it is not possible. Try again. Failures will happen but it doesn't mean you become a failure, it just means an opportunity to learn on how to succeed.
I would like to say I am not afraid of failure or that I completely accept my inadequecies but that's not quite true. In fact, failure in a sense doesn't quite exist so it is useless to be afraid of it. Because you only really fail if you stop trying. Because failure could really just better be expressed as steping stones, as lessons, as stop signs before eventually reaching success. Because when you give your best to improve, you are already succeeding.
It takes time and there is no reason to be harsh to ourselves because of what we feel we are lacking. And while we are at it, there is really no reason to be harsh to others because of what we feel they are lacking.
There is great potential in all of us, there is just a choice whether we tap into that potential or not.