Saturday, July 23, 2011

Perfection is a Destination, Excellence is the Journey

How many times have you heard that it is the journey that counts, not the destination? Or another way it's put is to say, "Enjoy the journey." Whenever I see this written or hear this said

I am the first one to give a nod of my head in agreement.


Yet and still, if I don't pay attention, and if I am not careful, I find myself falling into the same old rut. That's pursuing the ever elusive state of perfection. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best and putting in the effort to attain your goals.




Life is fluid. That means it is ever changing. Perfection is a static state. It's a moment in time, an event that comes and goes. Perfection is unsustainable. When you are only satisfied with or interested in perfection, you may doom yourself to be focused on tomorrow. The risk is that you may miss out on today. Once today is gone it becomes yesterday and never comes back. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone.




Excellence is like a path or a road you take. You can stay on it for a long time. Not only that, if you so choose, you can savor all, some, any or most of the moments that you experience along the way. Your journey can be as fulfilling as you want it to be.



Striving for and only accepting and enjoyng perfection, that perfect moment in time, can make joyful experiences far and few between. It can make you put off today something for a tomorrow that you might not ever get to see or experience. Life is not only fluid it is tenuous.



All of us have some cross to bear as a group or an individual. Don't let that impede you from enjoying the gift of this life which you have so generously been given.



People would look at you as if you were a fool if you were to say, "I work hard and never have fun. That is because I plan to have some joy or contentment years from now, and only for the briefest moments of time." Now how crazy sounding is that? People would back away really slowly and exit from your presence if you were to say such a thing.



If you think about it, many of us live this way when striving for perfection. "When I lose weight two years from now, I am going to be good enough to have a relationship," some of us say.



That's a moment to be experienced years from now. What happens between then and now? Striving for perfection. Losing weight may sound like you are just walking the path of excellence, but if you are putting off your enjoyment of your life for later, you are immersed in the pursuit of not-to-be-found- or kept-perfection.



Maybe you are working in a job that provides you income but doesn't satisfy your soul. You stay because you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, including your own. Of course we have to be accountable and responsible. It would not be right or appropriate to just walk away. To think that some day it will magically get better is pursuing perfection. You are working and striving for some moment in the future where the situation will be perfect. That moment may never come.



Continue with that job. Instead of hoping for a change that may or not arrive, to be experienced years down the road as a moment, change it to a journey. Strive for excellence. Make a plan about what you wish to be doing. Everyday, do an action that relates to that change. What's the difference? You are no longer living for a moment. You begin to live in the moment. The pursuit becomes a journey of little pleasures to savor along the way.



I know that a dream deferred is like a raisin in the sun. I agree with that sentiment. So often, dreams are deferred because we are trying to be perfect. Perfectionism is exhausting. It saps your energy and can leave you too tired or defeated to continue on the path. While excellence allows you rest stops of enjoyment along the way.



A dream doesn't come true some future moment in time, a time that is not even guaranted to manifest into something real, touchable and tangible.



A dream comes true by working at it on a regular basis, consistently over time. If you want to defer your dreams, chase unrelenting perfection. Pursuing excellence will provide you the practice and familiarity you need, so that when that opportunity comes, you will sail into it, through it and past that perfect moment, to blissfully enjoy as many moments of your voyage as possible.



Don't defer your dreams or forego enjoyment for some far off destination point in time, that you will only experience briefly for the sake of perfection. Experience some aspect of your dream every day. Create a tapestry of your life built on many moments of joy. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Perfection is like that proverbial carrot on the stick. You'll never get it and you may spend your life hungy and unfulfilled.



Focus on the journey. Strive to enjoy it, or some aspect of it, every day. Pursue excellence and not perfection. When you look up, not only will you have enjoyed getting there, you'll be able to sustain what you have attained. If the moment of perfection does come, it will be like the final fulfilling forkful of a decadent delicious dessert that you have enjoyed and not some morsel that you starved yourself for that turned out to be lousy. Now step out there and embrace your dream bit by bit. Hope to see you on the journey!