On Perfection

The lines must be straight. The book, phone, and laptop aligned symmetrically on the desk before you. All must be perfect.

There must be no mistake, no error in the essay or post. Any error is a shame, and perfection must be preserved. If your fly’s open, that’s trouble but a man must carry on.

Perfection is possible, sure. But not at the expense of sanity, not at the expense of common sense, or progress. A badly written book could be better than an unfinished bestseller. A stick drawing preferred to the promise of another Mona Lisa.

Perfection should be beautiful, but you may be surprised to find your experience or observation contrary. Maybe the imperfection, the inadequacies, the flaws evident in your work will communicate the authenticity of your humanity, of your striving, of your struggle for meaning and significance.

Perfection is possible… in the end. I hope the world has the patience to wait until the unveiling of your perfect masterpiece while the rest of the rest plod on, marking one progressively better artefact after another — minimum viable products, and viable products, good enough for the times.

There is perfection, and there is excellence. Excellence you achieve by making up your mind to strive toward perfection, constantly preparing yourself and delivering your best, while allowing yourself hope, and space to improve day by day, goal by goal.

The demobilizing, paralyzing quest for perfection, on the other hand, is pride manifested in the way you see yourself, in the way you relate to the world. It is a weakness we must pray about, work on, and lean on certain grace to rid ourselves of.

You can either be humble, willing to be proven wrong or inadequate and to get better or you can hide your flaws and labour on in the dark mulling the day you would prove to the world, finally, that you’re king, and all of us bowing subjects. It is possible. Is it probable?

Pursue your perfection, but be humble and gracious enough to appreciate where you are, what you have achieved at every stage in your journey. Celebrate your milestone, no need to postpone it until it is a national (or international) event. You are here. Create. Produce. Ship. Enjoy.

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  1. Pingback: On Perfectionism - Wumi Olatunji