Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for July 1st, 2012

Question of the Day: Why Plan for Perfection When We Know It’ll Never Happen?

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Folks, Sarah A. Hoyt wrote a very interesting blog a few days ago called “In Praise of Broken.”  Her central tenet is this: why is it that we humans always plan for the best possible scenario, when realistically we know it’s never going to happen?  Or as she puts it:

What I am getting at is that many people seem to have completely lost track of the distinction between ideal and actual.  Let me spell it out for you: ideal exists only as a perfect thing in your mind.  Like the battle plan not surviving contact with the enemy, it will never survive contact with reality.

Mrs. Hoyt’s post goes on to detail many things in her own life that did not seem optimal or were definitely far short of optimal — yet turned out well despite that.  Or was it instead that things turned out well because her life has these “broken” elements as part of it?

Go and read Mrs. Hoyt’s interesting, thoughtful post.  You may not agree with everything she says, but her belief that what makes you the person you have become is in overcoming whatever obstacles are in your way is both excellent and life-affirming.  Included in this assessment is her own writing career, a brief assessment of how she met her husband Daniel, and the adoption of two of her cats, so it’s obvious that Mrs. Hoyt has thought this premise through in specific and concrete terms.

My thought regarding the whole “in praise of broken” idea is this: none of us in this life are perfect.  We’re not meant to be.  So instead of a fruitless pursuit of perfection, which is a waste of your precious time, why not go for excellence instead, as that’s both attainable and practical?**


** Note that this was my late husband Michael’s maxim; he believed excellence was worthy, while perfectionism was nonsensical. 

Of course, he and I both fought the “perfectionism demon” from time to time, but remembering that we’re all fallible and mortal does tend to help you learn how to forgive yourself for not always being perfect — especially when you realize that no matter how good you may become, you’ll never attain perfection in this lifetime because human beings just aren’t meant for it.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm