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Oct182009

ON Perfection-- Part 1: Putting Perfection in it's Place

Perfection has been given a bad rap.

I'm amazed, amazed, amazed when I hear excellence equated with perfection, and then dismissed as though excellence is some absurd standard and "good enough" is, ...well, good enough.

It is not.

That is, unless your intent is merely to entice the masses to take baby steps away from their TVs and off their couches. All the really amazing accomplishments of mankind have been a result of chasing perfection.

Yet, you first have to understand one eternal truth; perfection is a means, not an end. We should all strive for "perfection" and, through that, hope to achieve excellence. Let's look to a football great to see how this works.

“When Vince Lombardi walked into the meeting he looked us right in the eye. He said, ‘Gentlemen. We’re going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we won’t catch it, because nothing is perfect. But, we’re going to relentlessly -- and that’s how he blurted it -- chase it. Because in the process we will catch excellence"... And he said, "I’m not remotely interested in being just good.”

"Holy macros. Man I was up just like this. I didn’t need a seat to set in. I was up like this ready to go.”

-- Bart Starr on Lombardi’s first day with the Green Bay Packers.

What's not universally understood is that these two words describe different aspects of the same standard. Perfection is an ideal; Excellence is an actual result! You will rarely achieve perfection in anything you do, yet only when you aspire for perfection can you hope to achieve excellence. Through excellence we achieve self-mastery.

"Perfection is a means,
not an end."

 -- Big Dreams.com

With "good enough" as our standard, we only learn to compromise, to take short cuts, and to quit when giving our best is too hard or inconvenient. We learn self indulgence. 

What kind of cars would Lexus build if their vision was Relentless Pursuit of "Good Enough?"

John Wooden had it right. What did he do after his team not just won the NCAA championship, but had a "perfect," undefeated season? Not one loss! He had his team work on weaknesses; continuous improvement. Results were secondary. Wooden always believed that giving your best -- and becoming your best -- is what truly mattered.

"Master your game. Master yourself."

-- Big Dreams.com

 While few of us have the privilege of using sports as a vehicle to achieve perfection, this still holds. For the rest of us our "game" is our work, family, and community. When you do something wonderful, you not only stand to serve others but develop your inner strength.

 

 

PART I: PUTTING PERFECTION IN IT'S PLACE

PART II: PERFECTION REVEALS EXCELLENCE

PART III: THE DARK SIDE OF PERFECTION

PERFECT PLAY

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

It was Cher's song, "Runaway." She says,

"No one is looking for perfection.
How can they give it in return"

Yet, people are looking for "perfection"-- in others, not themselves.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoren

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