Finding the balance between perfection and imperfection

We are all works in progress. That is a commonly held notion. But it rests on some basic concepts, namely, that we are imperfect, that we are striving for perfection and from these two things it follows that we constantly make mistakes. And yet when we do so, we berate ourselves, feel guilty, dwell on our wrongdoings. But why? We are living-contradictions who acknowledge our own imperfection and yet demand perfection of ourselves. 

Between these two poles we must find the ever-shifting balancing point. On one extreme, we do not want to be too perfectionistic or demanding because that will only amount to constant disappointment, which is no way to live. On the other extreme, we do not want to be too complacent. Yes, we are imperfect. Yes, we need to accept that. But that doesn’t mean we should resign ourselves to our bad temper, bad aim or bad driving. Our task on the tightrope hung between perfection and imperfection is to strive. Striving is our task in life. But striving must be sustainable. And this also is no easy endeavour.

We might tell ourselves, “I need to try my best.” And that is good advice. But what is our best? When are we living to our capacity or less than our capacity or beyond our capacity? 

There’s probably no way to know for sure, but there might be some signs that can indicate this to us. If life feels predictable, easy or even boring, we are probably living less than our capacity and could put in more effort to extend ourselves. But if we are giving more money than we have or we are constantly tired and stressed, then we might be living beyond our capacity. So our balancing point would then be somewhere in between.

That said, there can be times when our stress is not due to the workload we are dealing with but with our mindset. In those cases, it could be possible to continue living the same way with a different perspective. For instance, someone might be struggling to meet the many deadlines at work thinking that it is the amount of work that stresses them out when it is the fear of not delivering that is the real worry. In this case, it could be possible to gain more perspective on things and realise that if a deadline is not met, no one will die and the world will still spin around. We also have to remember that a new perspective takes time to build and we can’t demand to adopt it with a click of a finger, so it also might be the case that we do need to lessen the load and increase it incrementally as our enlightened perspective grows roots.

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