I have written previously about the benefits of striving for excellence rather than perfection.
Perfection is based on an external standard – an impossible to achieve one I might add. Excellence is about striving to be the best you can possibly be. The standard is one set by yourself. The goal is to be YOUR best self, as opposed to chasing someone else’s idea of what you should be.
One way to do this day-to-day is to value progress over perfection. If you are developing a skill to a level of excellence, then focus each day on making progress in that direction.
Progress can take the form of improvement from one day versus the next. This is useful. If you keep improving every day, you keep getting better.
Progress can also appear in the form of a failure or setback. As you may recall, I prefer the word “feedback” to failure. In my world, there are only successes and feedback. There is no failure.
“Failure” can often be a form of progress because it often provides “feedback” on what NOT to do going forward. This is a profoundly useful insight and therefore it IS progress.
In the perfection paradigm, failure is to be avoided at all costs.
In the progress paradigm, failure is welcome (even if it is painful at times) because of the useful lesson and feedback it provides.
The reason I prefer the excellence and progress paradigm over perfection is because in the former it is much easier to be persistent in your goals.
When you’re wedded to the perfection paradigm, anytime you fall short, there’s an enormous emotional incentive to say, “I stink at this. I am SO far away from perfection. I will never achieve it. I should just quit now, it’s hopeless.”
In the progress paradigm, the goal is simply to be better today at something than you were yesterday. That’s it. There will never be a point in your life where you can’t get better at something than you were yesterday. It is a goal that is both very achievable and a goal that you will never be done achieving. That is the wheel point of EXCELLENCE.