You Will End Up Alone for a Very Long Time

Ink on Watercolor paper – Words: Joseph Campbell

In order to embrace perfection we must face our own imperfections; once you are able to truly understand your own shortcomings and defects that is when perfection will no longer be the goal. Every single one of us is imperfect, the sooner we grasp that the better. No one likes to be around people who think they are always right or even worse think they are perfect. It it our flaws and weaknesses that make us who we are and allow us to become better people.

I once had a man tell me he had high standards, which meant he would accept nothing less than perfection. I asked him how that was working for him. He said he didn’t mind working 70-80 hours a week and completing his team’s tasks when they weren’t perfect because that was the only way he could fulfill his high standards. I asked him to think about why he needed things to be perfect. I saw him several weeks later and he said he had thought long and hard about it and he realized his need for perfection was because he didn’t like being out of control.

To get where you want to go you have to be willing for things to get messy, ugly, even unbearable. Be it tearing down drywall or career changes anything worth doing will at first feel messy, imperfect and uncomfortable. You will not be in control of the mess, you will have to go through more mess, then the day will come when the mess subsides and the goal is clearer. On that day you will be a better version of yourself because you will have lived long enough to put perfection into perspective. Everything that changes involves breaking something down to put it back together better, stronger, or more effectively. To get there it’s going to be ugly first and we have to give up control to get there.

No one likes living or working with anyone who only wants perfection. The guy who works 70-80 hours a week told me his wife told him she was tired of being alone all the time…ugh! His reality just got shot full of those messy, imperfect holes and the only way to repair it was to let his need for control dissolve, otherwise his marriage would.

It isn’t always that drastic, and yet sometimes it is and we just don’t want to face it. Let it go, take a deep breath, release control and remember that all too often eighty perfect is good enough. It is the imperfect all around us that brings life and joy to us all. It may drive us crazy but the imperfect in others and ourselves is what makes this life interesting. If you don’t think so just spend time with only perfect people…you will end up being alone for a very long time.

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