“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist”
― Stephen Hawking
We love perfection. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a perfectionist, right? In things that really matter to us in whatever we do, we aim for it to be top-notch and “perfect”. Whether it’s our work—which we want to be “perfect”, our house which has to be the “perfect” house, our physical bodies need to be “perfect” and then everything ranging from our wives to our entire lives have to be “perfect”.
But what is this “perfect”?
How do we know whether a thing or a task done is perfect? And is it really necessary that if a work done is perfect for the creator (employee, supplier, among others) it is even perfect for the audience? (boss, buyer, etc.)
If everyone is different and has unique points of perspectives, how can it be possible that there is a universal definition for a perfect job done?
There’s a great traditional Japanese philosophy which suits “perfectly” to assess and question the practice of perfection. It’s what the Japanese call wabi-sabi. Now, wabi-sabi refers to imperfection in nature but our topic is about getting work done or anything that we want which has to be perfect. So I guess, wabi-sabi isn’t a “perfect” fit after all, but actually nothing is (which I’ll get to in a minute), and so wabi-sabi works too if embraced with an open mind.
Wabi-sabi is merely the acceptance and embracement of imperfection. Appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature. It is simply accepting the fact that things cannot be “perfect” and being cool with it.
I think this is brilliant because nothing is perfect. Perfection from one eye, doesn’t mean perfection from another 7 billion pairs. And perfection in one field doesn’t mean it will be in every possible field. David Allen said it sharply when he said “You can do anything, but not everything.”
In a corresponding manner, a finished product of yours (whatever it may be) cannot be perfect in every imaginable field. Thinking it can isn’t foolish but it is really futile to a large extent.
So wabi-sabi or whatever you wish to call “accepting imperfection” and focusing more on completing the task the way it is in an authentic manner and not on “perfection” should really be the new perfect (in a less cliché manner)
Many try to be so perfect that they never even finish their work. Forget about hitting publish (send, enter, DONE), the work is just left unfinished because of perfection. Even Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t believe the Mona Lisa was perfect. He once said, “A work of art is never finished, it is simply abandoned.”
I try my best to not care so much about perfection and rather embrace individuality, whether it’s through my articles here on my blog on which I write one article every day, (sometimes writing whatever comes to my head and which I believe to be true in the moment which may contradict my opinion sometime later) or other major parts of my life. Because I know my articles are never going to be perfect for the entire world, and sometimes they won’t even be perfect for me. But I still hit publish every single day.