Perfection Is Possible (But Not The Way You Think)

Being a perfectionist is exhausting. If you too are a self-proclaimed perfectionist, you know exactly what I mean.

Laboring for perfection feels like going toe-to-toe in a bare-knuckle brawl with a larger, more experienced opponent. At the end you’re left badly beaten, bruised, eyes swollen shut, kidneys aching. The trophy – perfection – you so desperately wanted is within your field of blurry vision, but you didn’t attain it.

That’s why I proclaimed “Screw perfection!” not too long ago, and encouraged you to do the same. Pursuing perfection in business, life goals, health and fitness, finances, relationships, etc. proved to be unfruitful.

One immense problem with chasing perfection: Striving for it keeps you from appreciating all that you have achieved; you’re blinded from acknowledging all of the wonderful things you’ve already done because you’re not satisfied with good, or even great; you wanted perfect.

But I’ve since realized something. Perfection, while it’s not a long-lasting state of being or finished product, it does exist, however briefly, in moments. And oftentimes it reveals itself when we’re not looking for it and don’t expect it.

Because perfection is elusive we need to stop and revel in it when it rears its beautiful, fleeting face.

Perfection. You can find it in moments.

  • The moment when you laugh so robustly you struggle to breathe as tears stream down your face.
  • The most delicious dessert that makes your taste buds dance or that slice of pizza that has just the right amount of cheese to sauce ratio and crunchy crust. (Tastes so good it’ll make your tongue slap your forehead.)
  • When you make a mistake but respond immediately with self-compassion instead of criticism.
  • The brilliant rainbow that gleams forth as a storm retreats into the horizon.
  • A moment when everyone gathered is elated and everything seems to be going right.
  • A thoughtful gift you received, just because.
  • When you come to the end of a rigorous hike, caked in mud, and you’re greeted with the blissful, breathtaking view of rolling mountains.
  • Taking a relaxing walk in the abundant sunshine and fresh air, or playing fetch with your dog.
  • Those few moments where you lock eyes with your spouse and remember exactly why you married him.
  • That workout when you have limitless energy and the weights feel so light you have to check the bar to make sure you loaded it correctly.
  • An ordinary, lazy day where you did nothing but drink coffee, read, watch a movie, laugh, and be grateful that in those moments, everything was perfect.
  • That workout where you unexpectedly demolished your previous personal bests.
  • That period of time where your life was free from Oh Shit! moments.
  • Sipping a steamy cup of freshly brewed coffee on a cold winter morning. Hell, any morning, actually.
  • When your dog walks up to you, stretches intensely after a long fulfilling nap, yawns deeply as he leans further into his stretch … and farts. Why is this considered a perfect moment? Because it’s hilarious. (And because I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old.)
  • That first sip of wine after a long day.
  • The gentle, lingering kiss that made your heart flutter.
  • That unexpected “A-ha!” moment that delivered a jolt of motivation.

We are reminded in these moments that, yes, in fact, perfection is possible.

Perfection: Look For It

Not long ago I chased perfection in every aspect of my life (and I’m still a work-in-progress; a recovering perfectionist). I wanted the perfect marriage. I wanted to write the perfect book or training program. I wanted to create the perfect podcast; the perfect health and fitness website.  

We can’t always force perfection to occur. It can catch us completely off guard, and those times are often the best. The spontaneous moments in time that reveal the beauty of life.

But, other times, it’s all around us and we’re simply not looking for it. Seeking perfection in moments may not come naturally. Case in point: You may receive 15 compliments throughout the day and a single criticism. You’ll remember the one criticism and quickly forget the surplus of compliments. Our brains are hardwired to seek out problems and negativity. 

But once we make an effort to discover that first glimpse of perfection (in your morning coffee, for instance) it’ll be much easier to find another one later.

Make it a priority, today, to look for perfection. Savor it. Perfection is revealed in fleeting moments.

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