Perfectionism Vs Pursuit of excellence

By Sandeep Kulshrestha
The commitment towards perfection is a noble idea and there are many who are attuned towards the same. It is important for people and organizations to achieve their objectives with an innovative and passionate approach. Hence, a pursuit of excellence is what works when we achieve a higher level of self-growth. Perfection on the other hand is like a mirage. You cannot achieve that state because there is no matrix where you can put it, weigh it or define it.
The challenge is seeking perfection when it comes to relationships. At work, one can still push herself or himself and reach near-perfection but when we expect the same to happen with people around us like the loved ones, friends or relatives, such thought processes leads to disaster. For example, there are many people who expect you to attend each and every celebration where you are invited by them and when you say no many a times, they get offended and keep long term grudges against you or vice-versa. A girlfriend forgets a movie date and it takes a long spell of reconciliation and cajoling to keep the relationship back on track. In these cases, through our expectations, we crave for perfection from the “other”. If through self-reflection we accept people as they are and remember good times with them, we can surely drop this ideology or at least minimize it.
The pursuit of perfection can be a lot pressurizing on oneself as well. I was a life coach for a student who was a perfectionist and she could not write her exam as she had a nervous breakdown at the examination venue itself. She was a perfectionist and faced the consequence of being ultra-careful with her studies, spending 10–12 hours every day without a break. I worked with her through a Mindful living strategy where each and every moment, perfect or not is accepted as it comes, without being self-judgmental. Predictably so, she cleared her examinations in the next session as she started setting lesser expectations from herself and the people around her. She became more relaxed in the bargain.
Hence, pursuit of excellence through a smart way of looking at things is surely superior to a quest of perfection laced with the cocktail of expectations.
Sandeep Kulshrestha is a Life and Leadership coach. He is also a visiting professor of Human Resources and Organizational Development and is reachable on his email for coaching and consulting related work


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