POSITIVE SYMPTOM OF AMBITION
Do we want to do our best or do we want to be perfect? We are often told to strive for perfection. Being a perfectionist is actually a flawed concept. As hard as it may be to loose grip of our strict workout schedules, spotless relationships, flawless track record at work, the time has come to leave your perfect life behind and start living. The need to be perfect in everything we do can permeate every aspect of our lives, from work, to the clothes we wear, our relationships with friends and loved ones. how creative we feel and our longing to live in a perfect society.
Perfectionism can be a positive symptom of ambition. Perfectionism has its merits or it would not have been called perfectionism.
"Perfectionism has produced some of our finest cultural achievements" Buckland
Suppose you are writing a dissertation for your University degree. There is often a specific time frame for you to complete your dissertation, if the work is to be considered perfect. No matter how well written it is, if you do not deliver it on time because you want it to be 'perfect', it has failed in its intention, so it is not 'perfect' after all. The fact that you have to feature into your definition of perfection, not only where the standard of work applies or the possibility of the cost, but also whether what you plan to do happens or not.
A friend of mine is a painter and he was working on a painting for over 10 years and often says that it is almost done, I must just change the color here and add something to the features of some of the faces, then it will be perfect. This was said for at least the past 7 years. I was often wondering how many paintings he would have produced if he was only accepting his work as the best he could have done, if not perfect. Most painters could have produced twice that amount of paintings or even more in this period. Is his perfectionism worthwhile?
The Perfect Painting
You should always aim to deliver work of the highest standard as far as possible. But to be honest, there should be boundaries. You have to balance perfection of implementation against time and cost. The sculpture of King David by Michelangelo is a work of the highest standard if not perfect.
Fresco Sistine Chapel
Have you been to the Vatican in Rome? I was privileged enough to visit the Sistine Chapel. I could only stand there in absolute wonder. There are so many thoughts that cross your mind. How could Michelangelo have finished painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in his lifetime? Was he satisfied that his work was perfect and thought it couldn't be improved? Perhaps he spent a lot of time looking at it, thinking he could improve this or that scene by adding some color or shape a face slightly. Nonetheless, he understood that it was as important to have the painting done and to perfect every tiny detail or must he accept it as good enough? Perhaps in his view, the fresco on the ceiling was good enough. It was more than good enough, it is perfect.
Shakespeare played with some of his plays until he was satisfied that it was ready to be performed on stage. That means that he did not think his plays were perfect. His definition of perfection was to have the plays finished on time because he had an audience to entertain and actors who had to perform to enable them to earn a living.
Leonardo da Vinci
Striving for perfection can keep you from completing a task. An incomplete project is not perfect. Are we longing for something that does not really exist? You should do your best. Mark Twain said: "Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection" You don't have to be perfect to be amazing!