The problem with perfection

I read an interesting book last year called FYI: For Your Improvement, courtesy of my long lost Sri Lankan brother Udhara and his experience of a lifetime working at Apple.

Not just interesting, mind blowing. It completely changed my perception of myself and the world around me. I suddenly felt a much smaller man.

But I think I needed it.

My whole life I’ve existed as a self-professed perfectionist; embracing the psychology of perfectionism in everything I do.

I can happily spend hours shifting words around on a page, fiddling with colours and formatting in spreadsheets. Meticulously making sure every pixel is in its place.

I’ve always felt perfection is something to embrace, something to strive for. It produces wonder and beauty in all facets of life – from art to business and everything between. One of the finest qualities of all, perfectionism is a well-honed skill to take pride in.

You get the picture.

But actually, as this book from Udhara made me realise, perfectionism can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. An excuse born from fear. The scapegoat that saves you from facing up to the possibility of failure, to stick with the farmyard animal references.

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Why I expect more

One of the big things I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I expect a lot from people.

At times, I can be critical beyond what may seem fair or reasonable; unforgiving to the point of heartless. But sometimes, what might seem cruel is actually the kindest thing you can do for a person.

Whether between strangers, friends, lovers, or colleagues, one thing there’s often not enough of in this world is honesty.

True honesty can be brutal, at times unexpected and even earth shattering. But it can also be beautiful, liberating and insightful; life changing for the better.

There is nothing in this world more frustrating and upsetting to me than to see potential being wasted. Each of us is born with our own unique personality, talents, skills – the things that define our capacity to understand, engage with and impact the world around us.

What we choose to make with these building blocks is the essence of life and reality as we know it.

To knowingly waste your God-given gifts is practically a crime against life itself.

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