Perfectionism or Excellence
Perfection is a futile and unforgiving pursuit. Demoralise, create unnecessary pressures, cause anxiety are amongst its long list of consequences. Although not everything in the list is negative but one has to admit that it is a pursuit with diminishing returns the more invested we are towards it.
Personally, I am guilty of that exact said pursuit. I saw perfectionism as the ultimate purpose for every work that I embarked on. 'Ism-ing' it in my guitar playing, music writing, mixing, work, fitness, relationships... the list goes on like a mantra and a habit. Perfectionism made sense then but I never was able to accomplish anything much. Instead it really held me back from my greatest potential. It was a miserable time for me as a creative.
You see, perfection is goal oriented, extremely absolute. It is all about the result and anything less than 100% is a failure. That mindset is really destructive and counter productive. It is disadvantageous for people in groups with different drive levels and expectations as perfectionism is a terrible motivator. This also makes it a terrible motivation for individuals because the results are unattainable regardless of effort. The world is not perfect as our lives so that means it will always yield to external factors that are beyond our control.
So how do we break this crippling philosophy called 'Perfectionism'?
The 'Excellence' philosophy.
Where perfectionism is goal oriented, excellence is about the process. The focus is on the journey, about personal growth and empowerment. A sense of greater purpose rather than crippling reasoning.
I embarked on this philosophical journey of excellence a few years ago and to say the very least has been very life redeeming. A sense of freedom to test my strengths, my limits. To test my character against the odds, the challenges of life. Even when failure is the result, I would still be able to come out of it better and hopefully wiser.
Results are important. Do not go around mistaking the fact that our very lives are bound to results and consequences. But that does not mean that the actions taken justifies the results at the end. Hitting your sales target but at the expense of friends or colleagues. Achieving work KPIs but neglecting your relationships. I hope you can see a pattern forming.
This was and still is a profound discovery for me. To not be crippled by the limitations of futility is very important. Failure means room for improvement. Shortcomings gives way to progress and growth. I hope this will also be a great step towards personal growth for you.
Excellence is a philosophy and a habit very much like perfectionism. But where it diverges is how it impacts your mental health, lifestyle and well being.
I would like to share my deep gratitude for my friend and musical mentor David Gary for investing your time and resources into my life even though I was such a pain to deal with. For sharing your life experiences and teaching me the 'Spirit of Excellence'. Thank you!
Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash
Hey! I'm Bryan Limus, an audio engineer and music producer based in the tropical Borneo city of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. I enjoy creating art. photography and building stuff whenever I can. I am a musician and also a live sound engineer creating killer mixes.