Perfections vs. Excellence

I have a friend who’s a great musician, yet he he has yet to cut an album because he’s afraid it won’t be perfect. Likewise, I have a friend who hopes to publish several books (she’s been trying for years), yet something keeps holding her back from finishing the final draft much less submitting it to a publisher. That something deals with her hopes for the “perfect” book. After a few decades under my belt, I feel fairly confident to say that perfection doesn’t exist. There is no perfect wedding. Most every book has at least one typo or grammatical error, and if you look hard enough diamonds have flaws.  Even Yo-Yo Ma admits to making mistakes while playing in concert. While perfections may be elusive, excellence abounds everywhere. It is the ego that demands perfection, and while some ego is good, too much can become quite stifling, particularly when it comes to reaching our highest potential. As the expression goes, “You are perfect. The only time you are not perfect is when you compare yourself to others.”
Stress Tip for the Day:
Don’t abandon all hopes for quality today. Merely recalibrate your expectations by getting out of the way of your ego. Demanding perfection of yourself is futile (it’s just another ego-based control drama). Instead, sets your sights on excellence. Remember that excellence takes practice (and at times, some frustration).  As you go through your day today, cast off the filter of ego, and reach for your highest potential, even if there are a few mistakes along the way. After all, mistakes are stepping stones to excellence.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Several years ago author Terry Orlick came out with a book called The Pursuit of Excellence. It’s now in it’s fourth edition and the message is timeless.
Quotes for the Day:
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habits in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it’s a prevailing attitude.” — Colin Powell
“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” — Harriet Braiker
Photo for the Day:
There are no perfect photographs either (that’s why there is cropping.. and Photoshop). Here is one of my favorite shots of the Tetons at Sunrise I took several years ago. Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website:
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.
Brian Luke Seaward

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Excellent post Luke! Thanks for the reminder!
    Based on your (excellent) photo, the Tetons ARE perfect!!

  • Great reminder and ironically, a point of discussion in our Growth & Accountability Group last week at PivotGuild. So many entrepreneurs are perfectionists – which makes you wonder how anything every gets done or built! We talked about the concept of “good enough” and that raised anxiety for some people. Really great topic. I’ll share your post on Friday to continue the conversation. THANK YOU Luke!

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