Full disclosure… My natural inclination is not toward perfection. I prefer to make things work, rather than fix them. I had a VW bug that needed a new starter (1970’s) and rather than spend the money to get it fixed, I always parked on a hill (easy in Austin, TX) so I could push it and pop the clutch to get it started (That worked well until I moved to Lubbock, TX, where there are no hills).
I get my face and hair to the point that I am satisfied and then I don’t look in a mirror for the rest of the day. I have written a weekly newspaper column and this blog and others, but could not bear the tedium of trying to write good poetry. I have no problem creatively substituting chicken for shrimp or cauliflower for potatoes or flour for cornstarch rather than making another trip to the store. I don’t regularly check the air in my tires or the balance in my checkbook or get birthday cards mailed on time.
Perfection is Overrated
I do have an appreciation for doing things well and right and correctly, though. In truth, I am a rules follower (if I have deemed the rules worthy of being followed). Grammar, driving, attendance, polite behavior, reading a book from the front to the back, putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, doing that you say you will do…all of those examples and others like them should definitely be done following the rules.
There are times when doing things close to perfect is important. Trying your hand at carpentry? You should definitely measure twice, cut once. Knitting an afghan? It makes a difference if you check the dye lot on every skein of yarn. Going on an overseas trip? Checking the expiration date of your passport is prudent. Heading for a baseball game at Wrigley Field? Checking the weather can prevent being way too cold on a blustery day in August.
I am all for doing things well…
striving for perfection, however, is an entirely different thing.
The pursuit of perfection on an everyday basis wastes time, prevents communication, halts progress, frustrates goals, annoys others, gives false impressions, and generally keeps progress from happening. Finding the reality of “perfect enough” saves a lot of misspent energy and time.