Perfection is a Process, not a Destination

For the last 48 weeks, I have followed the same writing process, which starts on Monday for every narrative and by Tuesday, I usually have the subject matter mapped out. The narrative is typically completed by Wednesday. It’s Thursday, and I don’t have a clear line of sight on the content this week. And, I had declared to a close friend and colleague on Monday, that I was going to write my narrative on his most cherished saying, “Perfection is a moving target.”  It’s Thursday and my writing process isn’t performing. I hope this narrative comes together soon.

Has that ever happened to you? You plan for something, and the plan doesn’t follow the plan? Well, it happens to me often.

For instance, almost without fail, every time I am in a rush to do anything, the forces that be intervene and throw obstacle after obstacle in my path. But, when I do not have to be somewhere quickly, I arrive uncomfortably early. And this is what happens. When I and need to get somewhere quick because I am late, there is ALWAYS, without fail a person in the left-hand turn lane that is too preoccupied on their phone or daydreaming that fails to turn or turns too late on a green arrow, that I get stuck for another traffic cycle. For g-d’s sake, that person has a duty in the pole position at the left-hand turn lane arrow to be alert and ready to turn because there are 5 cars behind them that have to make the turn. Now, If I wasn’t in a hurry and needed to be at an appointment at, say 12:00pm and my destination was 20 minutes away and I left at 11:40am, I would arrive 10 minutes early because there would be zero traffic and the lights would change in perfect harmony so that I never get stuck at one.

I am impatient by nature. Any type of line causes me angst. So, out of need, I have become a line jockey. But, if I am in a hurry and there is a multiple line situation happening, 99% of the time I will pick the wrong one. Supermarket, bank, driving, concert or airport, if it has a line and I am in a hurry, without fail I choose the wrong one. Now, If I wasn’t in a hurry or impatient and had all the time in the world, there actually wouldn’t even be a line. Why?

Have you ever tried to plan the “perfect” vacation or “perfect” event or execute the “perfect” performance and it never quite achieves that status. Despite accounting for every minute detail, something unexpected always makes an appearance. Now, the vacations, events or performances that happen with an organic mindset and more importantly, without an attachment to outcomes, seem to have surprisingly better results. But, why?

Here are some thoughts…

When I am in a rush, I have an intense emotional need and expectation to get where I am going. I am thinking about the meeting, appointment or any other event and hoping that I will not be late. I am racing against time to get there, all the while thinking about what is going to derail me from being on time. And sure enough, I encounter those obstacles that ultimately derail my plans and I end up arriving late. 

When I am line jockeying, I am racing against my impatience and need to get through the process as quickly as possible, and almost every time it works to my disadvantage, and I get stuck in the slowest line. I actually create these situations out of my need to not create these situations. And, it all starts from the moment I see the long line and think, “this is going to take forever” and sure enough, it does.

According to Susan Fletcher who coined the term and my close friend and colleague Olti Tile, “Perfection is a moving target”. Much like the expectations we have when we are in a rush or when we are impatient, “perfection” carries with it lofty expectations. And, although perfection is a subjective concept that varies from person to person, the ground rules in attaining it are typically pretty consistent. It takes flawless execution and pure synchronicity. Anything less falls short and that is why perfectionists tend to focus on their mistakes and weaknesses rather than their strengths and achievements, in their need to attain perfection. As such, that focus on their mistakes and weaknesses, creates just that.

This is how AI describes perfect:  In general, “perfect” refers to something that is without flaws or errors, and completely satisfies all expectations or requirements. And, this is what AI says about achieving perfection, “However, it is important to note that the idea of perfection is often unattainable and can lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointment. Therefore, it is often more productive to strive for improvement and excellence rather than perfection.” And that is what Susan and Olti are saying. 

That “perfection” is rarely achieved because it is NOT a destination, but rather a route or method for progress and hopefully the attainment of excellence. 

Here is a formula for personal achievement:

Step 1: Set an intent for what we want to happen.

Step 2: Set your breathing to a consistent, slow-paced rhythm

Step 3: Reset yourself in the present moment, by experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of The Now.

Step 4: If obstacles arise, follow this Marine plan: Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.  But, do not get caught up in the emotion of the obstruction.

Step 5: Detach from the outcome of the event.

That should do it.  

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