“Perfect” Can Be the Enemy

Perfection – it’s what everyone aspires to achieve. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with it because, well, what’s not to like about being Perfect? But what does perfection really mean? The thing is, it’s not at all cut and dry, which makes it hard to strive towards because unless it’s absolutely defined.

Many people claim to be “perfectionists.” I must admit, even I used to think that it was a great quality to have–to be so meticulous about every single detail and to be completely uncompromising. This was, of course, until I realized that to some people, the idea of “being perfect” can be inhibiting, instead of motivating.

The truth is, “perfect only exists in tests and highly quantifiable dimensions. It does not exist in many qualitative things that can improve or decline.

Perfection in the workplace needs to be achieved each day–it’s not a one time event. Most things in business must be worked on continuously, not something you can perfect in one instance.

If you’re waiting for your perfect setup, perfect conditions, and perfect outcome, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. Why? Because perfection assumes that you’ve reached the pinnacle of what you can become.

Reaching it means that there’s no more moving forward. Pause for a moment and think about it: when can you actually claim that there’s no more room for improvement? Never.

Take the case of a startup business. When you’re trying to figure out what opportunity to take on or how to make the most of a situation, when you’re testing your product, choosing the right target market, releasing a new marketing campaign–how often can you define what “perfect” is? Again, there is no such thing.

Everything is a series of trial and learning, many times learning from error. Everything is a work-in-progress.

The idea of perfection sometimes holds people back from developing the skills and attitudes necessary for continuous improvement.

Accepting perfection is resting on one’s laurels, looking at his or her past achievements, and convincing one’s self that there is no further they can go.

This lack of hunger is dangerous and will bring about stagnation of not just one’s self, but also the company in which he or she is a part of.

To demonstrate this point further, some management styles work perfectly in one situation but may completely fail in another. Therefore, regardless of one’s experience in handling a business and in managing employees, one still has to find the right management style to fit a different kind of situation. There is no one-size-fits-all method in being great at business. Finding the right style is like swimming, when you’re thrown at the water, nobody will give you a step-by-step guide for survival. You need to keep learning.

Expecting yourself to be perfect is going to be disappointing. Waiting for perfect conditions is paralyzing. So instead of striving for perfection, strive for better than yesterday, and prepare to strive for better again tomorrow. You can never run out of room for growth anyway, so step out of the perfection race and instead, aim to expand yourself and your company to reach new heights in a sky where there is no limit.



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