Monday Message 6 18 18 Perfect

Perfect: adjective
1.  Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be
2.  Absolute; complete

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”. When I read that I laughed out loud at the idea of enthusiastic failures. The notion of celebrating a fail isn’t my default setting, but maybe I ought to rethink that.

At WISP we often hear scholarship recipients bemoaning the fact that their “perfect” 4.0 is “ruined” because of a missed point on a test. Perfectionism is a quality that many survivors share. Maybe it stems from trying so hard to do exactly right in a relationship where exactly right was impossible. Maybe it’s a leftover safety mechanism. And while we want all of our scholarship recipients to do their best, there’s a balance to find where being the best doesn’t cause extra emotional distress.

Looking for the no-fail solution can keep us paralyzed with indecision because there is really never one “right way” of doing something. Or it can cripple us with regret for making the “wrong” decision if things didn’t work out the way quite the way we expected. The fact is, there’s no “right” or “wrong” because the future is always in flux and it’s impossible to predict any outcome with certainty. Doing the best we can with what we have at the time is the only option. And when we know better, we do better.

I often tell my son he is “perfectly imperfect” which is guaranteed to elicit a confused look or an eye roll, or both if I’m lucky. I can’t blame him. It took me a while to get this. Our flaws are an unavoidable side effect of being human, and together with our strengths they are what make us uniquely ourselves – unlike anyone else – and an absolutely perfect package.

Whether you agree or you’re giving me the side-eye I hope that if trying to be perfect is a trait you have, you’ll at least give yourself a little breathing room from time to time. A 3.999 GPA tells us that you took a risk and stepped outside your comfort zone to challenge yourself. And you, flaws and all, are just right exactly the way you are.

“The thing that is really hard and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning to work on becoming yourself”
Anna Quindlen

“Never aim for perfect. That will guarantee failure almost every time.”
Caroline Ghosn

“We’re not perfect; we all have things that people might not like to see, and I like to show my faults.”
Grace Jones

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.”
Alice Walker

“I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of mine.”
Kerry Washington

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