The difference between excellence and perfection
Excellence is about being outstanding. Achieving greatness, brilliance, distinction. It is about continuous improvement. You’re never going to be the best at something the first time around. It’s not possible, it takes practice and a lot of learning. When you strive for excellence you are always looking at where you are and how you can get better. It is a daily, never-ending journey.
Excellence is about being the best version of yourself by striving to be better. You are not born with it but cultivate it over a period of time through hard work. It focuses on doing the right thing.
Perfection, on the other hand, is unattainable. With perfection, you will always realize that you haven’t done enough. When you strive for perfection you are aiming at something that is so good that it cannot get any better and the risk is that you will never get there. Perfection is impossible except in scientific laboratory experiments and mathematical applications. Emphasizing perfection acts as an obstacle to progress.
Perfection is about something that can’t be improved further, it is unattainable. Simply put, perfection is beyond our reach. It is about doing the thing right. It demands unachievable outcomes because whatever you do is never good enough.
Excellence leads to motion whilst perfection leads to stagnation. When you pursue excellence you are motivated to do better and are not afraid of making mistakes. As long as you are doing your best, you are pursuing excellence. However, when you pursue perfection, you feel too much pressure because you don’t want to make mistakes and this often leads to stagnation. When you want to do something perfectly, you never get started.
Striving for excellence can motivate and inspire you while striving for perfection is demoralizing because you can never get there. In whatever you do, strive for excellence, not perfection. Just start, do not be afraid of not get it right the first time. As long as you are persistent, you will improve. The first craft that I created was nothing short of whack! But I kept on at it and continuously improved.
Why you should never seek perfection but excellence
It may be challenging to achieve excellence, but it is impossible to achieve perfection. People who strive for perfection have a phobia. It is more of a type-A personality. Trying to achieve perfection is more like setting yourself up for failure. Excellence paves the way for improvement, while perfection paves the way for frustration and disappointment. People who are too fussy about perfection, are afraid of making mistakes and therefore limit themselves from learning or growing. While excellence is feasible, perfection is only a fantasy.
Excellence is not an act, but a habit
Aristotle rightly said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” You do not just wake up one day and you are excellent, it is a process of continuous improvement. Through which you make mistakes and learn from them.
How to achieve excellence
1. Always give more than is expected of you
Exceed expectations and go the extra mile that will set you apart from others.
2. Be passionate about what you do
When you do what you love, you don’t feel that you are working anymore, as you derive pleasure from it. Hence, you have to be passionate about whatever you do in order to achieve excellence. Things that are done half-hearted end in mediocre. Be totally committed to what you do, excellence requires commitment. If you aren’t passionate enough to do it then find something you are passionate enough to do.
3. Believe in yourself and your work
If you don’t believe in yourself or what you do, you can’t do it excellently. Be positive!
4. Be persistent and continuously improve
Excellence is not a one day job, it’s a process of continuous improvement. Always seek new knowledge. If you want to continuously improve then you have to keep seeking new knowledge. You can do this through reading books, articles, self-development blogs or even getting formal training. Read good books and upgrade your knowledge constantly. Never become complacent with your existing knowledge. Continuous learning broadens your horizons. Keep enriching yourself.
5. Let every experience be a learning curve
If you allow yourself, you can learn from every experience. Every obstacle or failure is an opportunity for you to learn, grow and excel.
6. Share your knowledge with others
Knowledge grows when it is shared. You can do this through teaching or training others on what you know. Develop an attitude to help and serve others. We brought nothing into this world and will take away nothing from this world when we die. I am glad, through teaching people crafts and therapy, I have had the opportunity to share my knowledge and watch others grow.
The mistake many people make in life is that they try to achieve perfection. No one is perfect. It’s an illusion. By aiming for perfection you set goals so unrealistic that they become impossible to reach and you never feel satisfied.
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