Perfection or Success? Which One Will You Choose?

Don’t you love it when everything is just perfect? What if I told you that seeking perfection is one of the most common reasons why people don’t achieve their personal and professional goals. Let me tell you why…

In today’s world, you have to love perfection, or at least, that’s the story many of us tell ourselves. If we don’t, then it tells something about us. It tells the world we don’t love quality work, we’re sloppy and our standards are pretty low, and why would we want that? At the same time, doing things perfectly every time is actually great because no one can criticize perfect work. So, the best way to have our work accepted or to be accepted ourselves by others is to be perfect.

The only problem is that achieving perfection is very hard and seldom happens. Sure, if the scope of what you do is very limited, then perfection is achievable. But once you move ahead and complexity increases, or that you depend on other people or companies to do you job, then perfection happens much less often. So, aiming to be perfect every time when it actually happens very rarely is setting yourself up for regular disappointments as your goals of perfection are regularly missed. In essence, when someone wants everything about her or his life to be perfect, she or he surely wants to be perfect as well. And how realistic is it for someone to aim to be perfect when life itself is imperfect by nature…

There are many consequences to aiming for perfection. Many of us will procrastinate or never even start a project because of the fear of a potential failure and prefer to daydream about something that could theoretically be perfect instead of taking the risk of proving to ourselves that we’re not perfect after all. Because we want to be perfect, we aim at crazy goals, after all, you can only be perfect if you shoot for the stars, right? And instead we have an even harder time getting started because it can be discouraging to aim for something big when we haven’t even started small yet.

There’s a common practice among entrepreneurs which is to start their company by creating an MVP. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. The logic behind it is that instead of starting big creating a massive infrastructure behind your product you start super small with the smallest, cheapest, quick and dirty product you can put together in order to start selling to customers and learn what they actually want. You start with something imperfect. The logic behind it is that the only way to know how your product should be is to sell it to customers, get their feedback and improve upon that. That logic is the opposite of perfection but it’s the best way to get started. For example, you could be selling a piece of software that’s supposed to automate and replace virtual assistants but really doing the job yourself and be the virtual assistant for a time in order to learn what customers want and what they value before you spend your hard-earned money in developing the software. This logic can be applied to many areas of our lives. It’s about getting started, about doing, about being comfortable being imperfect because we can’t be perfect when we’re only starting and learning something new.

In my humble opinion, I think it’s unrealistic and self-defeating to aim at being perfect. You can achieve perfection from time to time, but it cannot be the only way to describe success. There’s a lot of beauty in imperfection because that’s how you achieve significant goals. By accepting you don’t know everything, that you’ll make mistakes and learn from them and will move forward. You’ll start small, learn, grow and will get closer to perfection than if it was your goal to start with.

If you feel that seeking perfection is something that’s hindering your progress personally or professionally and want to discover how you can find ways to make big strides towards your goals while staying true to yourself then you can find on my blog, by clicking here, some great resources. You can download there a 1-pager I put together listing some books that I found really helpful about this topic and some quick actions that I listed there and that you can implement right away to see concrete results quickly.


What’s your take on perfectionism? Do you think things are only worth doing if done perfectly? Or did you ever have to be imperfect to get your life moving again?