Truly successful people are not afraid of imperfection.
I’ve come to the point when I have to decide between priorities for a very serious professional writing task; one which is truly huge in scale, and on which a great deal depends.
This, in itself, is not a bad thing. Part of being a true professional, is knowing the right trade-offs to make. Everything in life is 100% about trade-offs; just like your relationships with your friends, family, spouse; or your personal finances; or government policies. There are no solutions in life; there are only trade-offs.
In other words, the key point is not to reconcile all your competing objectives; the key point is to not reconcile them.
Knowing how to make intelligent and justifiable compromises is part of being a true professional; it is not just an intellectual skill, but an index of your moral character.
Someone who is afraid to sacrifice an important task for an utterly crucial one, is too timid (as of yet) to truly be an accomplished professional. This is not personal criticism; it is a factual observation.
Dispassionately and objectively speaking, the person who is unable to face a complex set of potentially or actually conflicting demands, without assuming a fearful ‘perfectionist’ stance, is not fully rooted or grounded in themselves. They are so afraid of failing that failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But what is really required is a bit of courage, a bit of humility, a bit of self-worth.
In short, a bit of backbone.
Once you realize that you don’t need to achieve all your goals, you can start making the least imperfect trade-off.
Truly successful people aren’t those who get everything done.
Truly successful people are the ones who know how to make the least imperfect compromise and trade-off, in order to provide something that is not at all sub-par, even if it risks being sub-optimal.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, made a good observation on Quora:
Perfectionism is sub-optimal.
I can’t say for sure that perfectionism is never right. But for most of the people reading this, including me, perfectionism is a great danger.
And do you know why this is?
It’s not difficult to guess.
It’s because almost everyone in the world today has limited resources.
It doesn’t matter whether they are material resources, such as capital and manpower; or spiritual resources, such as energy, concentration, and of course, that most elusive of sneaky gremlins: time.
Please remember this, when you have a difficult task to accomplish.
The people you admire most are not the omnipotent and omniscient people you think they are.
They are the ones whose strength is found in their imperfection, and they are not ashamed to own it.
There’s an old saying that the greatest strength is made perfect in weakness.
What compassion are you going to show yourself today?