I had a beautiful dinner with two friends of mine last week. One is a high-powered financial executive and the other a photographer with international acclaim. The conversation turned toward a common shadow in human behavior: perfectionism.
For the financial executive, perfectionism was her secret weapon for success. It also was a troubling limiting factor for her. This is quite common. It’s ineffective, nonetheless. As she expressed her conscious efforts to do the work surrounding her need to be a perfectionist, I figured I’d rope in the photographer to reinforce my message to her that, while I understand her troubles, perfection isn’t a thing. The greats arguably see with the most detail how imperfect their work is because they are so passionately close to their masterful, albeit imperfect, work.
“Can you point me to your perfect work?” I asked knowing she wouldn’t be able to. I figured this fact would begin to confirm my position that it seems silly to obsess about a thing she’s A) never done and B) will never be able to do. I wasn’t surprised that my photographer friend supported my claim, but I was surprised at how he did it.
“You know, in photography and the arts, they say the only perfect work is unfinished,” he described. “Once you’ve completed an image, it’s a flawed moment in time. But, the pursuit of the perfect image maintains the purity of perfection.” Articulating what I’ve believed so strongly about in a different way landed so beautifully on me.
If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll live a life full of failure if you act based on the assumption that you’ll find a finality that is perfect. Instead, the closest we can live to this “perfection” idea is to be in motion with the work. Make an effort, notice the areas that need change, and try again. I’m thanking my friend now for the reminder that the iteration process is our only chance at perfection.
Complete 3 rounds for reps:
Max weighted pull ups w/ KB (35/26)
-Rest 2 minutes-
Then, complete 4 rounds for time:
15 American KBS (70/53)