Week 6: Perfection doesn’t exist
Some of us often get stuck in an analysis-paralysis loop; unable to make a decision while we repeatedly weigh our options. We excessively focus on results, and are fearful of failure. I believe people call us “perfectionists”.
I received the results of my first graded quiz this week. And I was reminded of how, when I was younger, I would very often chase “perfection”.
In school, I was obsessed with being the best, not just in class, but amongst all my peers in the whole study year. I strived for straight A’s on my report card, so much that I broke down in tears after getting a “B” for the Malay Language subject in my SPM (Malaysian secondary school leaving examination), successfully overlooking the 8 other A+’s on my results slip.
I was also obsessed with an arbitrary weight value on the scale. Perhaps because of societal norms or how my peers looked, I’ve always found that I wasn’t “light enough”. This led to years of lunch-skipping at school, binge eating, and low self-esteem.
Thankfully, these thought patterns and behaviours have since changed over time.
I don’t currently believe perfection exists. I don’t think it is possible, given the limited resources we can allocate to the multiple facets of life.
There is so much to life…
I spend most of my time now studying (working, when I was part of the workforce), but apart from that, I also spend time at pole lessons, playing the guitar, reading, going to the gym, watching movies with my partner…
Humans are multi-faceted. At different stages of life, we get absorbed into different pursuits that demand our attention and resources.
… but only so much we can give,
Whilst there is much in life to pursue, there is also only so much we can invest. Think — time, physical and mental energy, money — to start with.
Being an introvert means for every hour I spend out of home, in crowds, there needs to be down time to recuperate mentally. Going to pole lessons and to the gym means rest days to recuperate physically.
There is an opportunity cost to almost everything we decide to focus our resources on, surely that must mean we can’t achieve perfection in everything we do?
there is only so much we can do.
“Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.”―Salvador Dali
At some point along my journey, I have learnt to:
- Choose my battles carefully (“there is so much to life”);
- then commit to doing my best in every endeavour I pick up (“but only so much we can give”), and
- let go of my obsession with the outcome of my pursuits (“there is only so much we can do”).
Things are now more enjoyable, and I feel healthier, physically and mentally.
So, the next time you find yourself mulling over or feeling disappointed over the outcome of something, ask yourself —
“Have you given your best?”
And if the answer is “yes”, then, there is nothing to be regretful of.