'Better' is between where you are now and perfect

posted by Jonathan Frei On Friday, October 30, 2009

It's easy to get down on yourself when you're not perfect. Being less than perfect admits a shortcoming, a failure. It's humbling.

A common cliché used to make someone feel better after a failure is to remind them that no one is perfect. However, this condolence provides little or no consolation. That's probably because it doesn't take a perfect person to avoid the particular screw up that's getting you down. It only takes a better person.

It is accepted that perfection is impossible, and it is. That being the case, the proposition also needs to be acceptable. However, it can be so difficult to accept not being perfect, that we sometimes forget perfect's younger sibling: 'better'.

It's okay to not be perfect. However, this cannot be cause for complacency. The premise that nobody is perfect does not justify not trying. 'Better' is a great alternative to perfect because it's situated directly between where you are now and where you'd like to be.

Also, each time you take a step to be better, you're that much closer to perfect, and there's another 'better' in close proximity for you to move towards.

Small steps in the right direction are acceptable. They are not preferable to lasting radical overnight changes, but they're a good start. Besides, for most, they are far more realistic.

Some people are are able to make drastic changes overnight, or even over the course of a year. Here I use the word 'some' to describe a very small minority of very special and talented or very weird and crazy individuals.

For the rest of us, the walk towards perfection will be a long one. It will take a superhuman perseverance. This will mean committing to a daily goal with clear action items to become a better person, to change bad habits, to start good ones, to develop the way you think about things, and to inspire those around you by your actions.

And if perseverance, commitment, desire, endurance, and patience are not traits that you either possess or can develop, then it will be better to look for some quick overnight fixes. Unless you're part of that 'some', they won't work, but even a quick fix is better than no fix.
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