Re-appraising perfection

The story of perfect: Perfect is free of fault, incompletion, and error. Perfect is safety. Perfect is first place, a gold medal, or 100%. It is happily ever after, the peak of excellence, something to remember while also setting and forgetting. 

This is the imagined reality we live in, a story based on the assumption that perfect is good and a value—perhaps the most important one—worth aspiring to. Perfectionism seems much more acceptable than procrastination, even though both end with the same consequence of ineffectiveness; with perfectionism, at least the person aspired to make something good.

Consider alternate story, where imperfection is the value to aspire to. As Beth Kempton writes in Wabi Sabi, “All things, including life itself, are impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect. Therefore, perfection is impossible, and imperfection is the natural state of everything, including ourselves.”

Or as Michelle Kuo writes, “And the thing is, perfection isn’t the most important value, or even a value at all. It definitely isn’t the most important value in a classroom. Teaching in another language reminded me of this.”

There is a time and place for perfection, but probably won’t happen or look the way you think it will. 

That doesn’t make it any less perfect.

(I interviewed Michelle for Creative Doing. See the prompts Focus on Connection, Find Your Comfort, and Ignore the Stats.)

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