The Easy Place

The Quest for Self Awareness One Moment at a Time

The Peril of “Perfection”

To-do list book.

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My attention to detail can rub some people the wrong way.   As one former co-worker sneered at me, “There’s the regular way of doing things and there’s Melinda’s perfect way.”  Of course, her scorn had no impact on me because it was true, I believed my way was perfect.

And, to be honest, I like my “perfect way”.   I like having maps, reservations and emergency Handiwipes in my car.  I enjoy knowing what to expect.  For those of us who prefer to be organized these things give us a sense of balance, they help us feel some preparation for the unexpected.

However, with all that scuttling around trying to get things just right, we can steamroll those around us, even other organized souls.  Because those of us who have our “perfect” way usually feel that our way is the only way, so no one else ever gets a vote, including the others who also have their own “perfect” way.   

The problem isn’t that we like the people and circumstances around us to be the way we want them.  The problem is that we can get to a state where it feels critically important.   Our version of fun becomes limited to times when things go our way.  We blindly end up in a take-no-prisoners place where we tune out our environment, others, and even reality, in the effort to make things line up with our version of right. 

What I’m learning is that it’s ok if things turn out differently than I want.  Taking the” wrong” path can lead to places I never imagined.  Not having reservations at my favorite restaurant can result in finding that the food is even better at the place down the street.  And by not imposing my idea of “right” on those around me, I’m better able to include what they want, what feels right to them.  

I’ve finally learned that even though I want things to be perfect, they don’t really have to be. 

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7 responses to “The Peril of “Perfection”

  1. Beth December 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Hi Melinda – I like that you have recognized the perfection in “imperfection”. Honestly, I think there are as many different versions of “perfect” as there are people in the world. We may have many things in common and adhere to a particular philosophy of “being organized” or not but no two people are exactly the same. Still when we distill all our ideas of what it is to be “perfect” we can discover that there is an essential element in everyone’s “perfect” that we all have in common.
    When we are able to see and be with that then we are as you so beautifully put it …..in “The Easy Place”…… together. It is great to be here with you and all your many readers. Have a great day!

    • Melinda December 7, 2010 at 11:06 am

      I love your comment, Beth! A friend of mine, who could not be more different from me, reviews my posts before they go out and she also had a reaction to the world “perfection”. Because to her, perfection is impossible, it’s always beyond the next iteration.

      But when I talk about perfection it’s deeply personal and much more contained than how she sees it – my Christmas tree is perfect to me, and to her that idea would be ridiculous.

      That there might be some meeting place – some overlap somewhere – is interesting to me. We’d probably only find it if we changed the word we’re using, perhaps “impeccable” or “flawless” would convey my concept to her better than “perfect”

      How perfect for this post that we all look at perfection differently 

      Hope your holidays are great, you are a wonderful support to me, thank you so much.

      Melinda

  2. Raj ma Taj December 11, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Dear Mindy,

    I was going to send you a personal note about this particular blog on perfection, because… well, because what I wanted to say was personal.

    But, you, Mindy, have opened your feelings, thoughts, and heart in so many personal ways and have been an example as much as a coach.

    So, thank you for your… self (perfection and all). The pureness and your willingness to share your life experiences encourages others to recognize blind spots and challenges, and grow into the fullness of who they were made to be.

    Perfectly yours,
    Raj

    • Melinda December 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

      Your comments are so appreciated, both by me and by others who are working on the same areas in their lives.

      Thanks for helping to make The Easy Place a real conversation!!

      Mindy

  3. Farouk December 13, 2010 at 12:41 am

    that’s so true
    for certain tasks i try to do my best and make them perfect but for others being good is just more than enough

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