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#BEDM17 Why striving for perfection is wrong

I'm blogging every day in May, for no particular reason other than I can. I've come up with 31 topics and I'm going to bash on my keyboard about each of them. You can find them here every day or sign up to get an email with them (scroll down). If you enjoy them then you're welcome; if you don't, then why are you still here?

It's odd that we think of 'being a perfectionist' as a positive attribute, given that we have finally, pretty much universally agreed - just 200,000 years in to modern humanity - that 'perfect' doesn't really exist.

Not that it's that simple, of course. No one would ever openly, honestly admit they wanted to be perfect - nor would anyone ever share that they thought they'd managed it, lest someone spoil it by pointing out the grass stains on their bum.

In job interviews we try to be coy when asked about our biggest flaws, and impliment the terrible cliche response of "oh I'm just too much of a perfectionist," as if we all want to employ someone who'll sit neurotically rocking backwards and forwards should they accidentally use a Post It Note upside down in the office.

Inside our minds, our brains constantly berate us for not managing to achieve perfection - despite not having any idea what it looks like anyway - as we galumph about, outwardly saying to anyone who'll listen: "I'm trying my best, you know!"

And that's all it needs really; as parents everywhere have said to kids who've just lost at some sportsing: all that matters is that you tried your best.

That we hold ourselves to high standards is a good thing, but what matters more than perfection is that what we do achieves what it should.

Sometimes, and this is a fact I wish I'd learned earlier in my life, half-arsing it is OK. Sometimes, it's all it needs. I'd go as far as to say that far from being impossible to define, and irritating for the rest of us to wait for, aiming for perfection is actually just a convenient excuse for ignorance.

If you're not sure how to do something, it takes you twice as long to get it done.

Well, you'll get away with it if you claim to be being a 'perfectionist' about it as you frantically watch YouTube videos with the sound turned right down so you can find out exactly how you do shave a cat.

No. I've decided - I'm not aiming for perfection anymore: I'm going to be happy with getting stuff done, doing my best and - sometimes - deciding in advance that "it'll do."

Which sets a good tone for the rest of this 'blog every day' thing...

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