While it’s important to keep striving for better and to have high standards, the fact is perfection does not exist. It’s just as important to balance our standards with the reality of time, energy and appropriate expectations.
Personally, I’ve always struggled with perfectionism, so working towards excellence instead, has become a powerful tool for me. Excellence is generally defined as both "the quality of being outstanding or extremely good” and of “taking the approach of being extremely good in your work, skills and behaviours." It’s less about being flawless, and more about working hard at being better. In contrast, perfection can stifle our confidence, block our ability to make decisions and cause us to project unfair expectations onto others.
We often sit in awe of masters in piano, yoga or chess, and appreciate that they have put in years of dedicated practise to slowly, steadily and consistently develop their skills. We respect that their excellence has developed over time, so we should extend ourselves that same level of patience and understanding. Rather than rushing to be masters now we need to slow down and give ourselves scope and permission to nourish our efforts with time.
Changing my focus to excellence has given me freedom to be a better me. I’m strengthening my skills and not burning myself out. I’m in a state of continual learning not self-criticising and I’m more open minded as opposed to frustrated.