Seek Excellence Not Perfection
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. It’s about embracing imperfections.
We’re taught to seek the illusive state of perfection. People are actually doing cosmetic procedures in search of the perfect selfie. Perfection rarely exists even in the things or experiences that we perceive as perfect. Perfection is in the eyes of the beholder.
However, at work we chase perfection when it would be more beneficial to strive for excellence. Our quest for an unrealistic standard impedes our happiness because we’re chasing the unachievable. Excellence builds on our skills meaning we are always seeking to improve them little by little by seeking to be a little better than we were yesterday. That’s realistic. That’s motivating. Think of excellence in increments – like the next time I’ll do it 3% better.
What are the tasks, projects or presentations that you benchmark your result against perfect instead of excellence? The next time you feel that inevitable frustration created when you realize something isn’t perfect in your eyes, stop what you’re doing. Get up from your desk and take a deep breath. Then take another one that really fills up your lungs and slowly release it. Then look in the mirror, smile at yourself, and remember that excellence is a marathon. Tomorrow you’ll do it a little better.
Excellence energizes and perfection drains. Change your goal so you’ll be energized instead of drained. You might even discover there’s a little beauty in the imperfections too.