Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

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“Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”

“Do or do not, there is no try”

The second is of course a classic quote from Yoda who I actually found to be a little irritating.  But they hit on the same general theme.  It is the outcome that matters, not the effort.  Z did use the first quote just recently which is why it sticks with me.  There is nothing specifically wrong with either piece of advice except that it is prone to be taken the wrong way by someone with a touch of perfectionism.  OK, when it comes to dancing, I’ve got more than a touch.

Which is why I can get into moods where everything is binary.  Either a dance is perfect or it sucks.  And, since perfection can never be achieved, I’m left with the conclusion that each dance sucks in its own special way.  Then, you take a dance like the Fox Trot where I start to struggle with and it is so far from perfect that I can’t give myself credit for those things that do go well.  If the whole thing isn’t perfect from beginning to the end, then it sucks and I, of course, must suck as well.  After all, if I didn’t suck, I could do it perfectly.  But since I can’t do that, then I must really suck.  Yes, there are crater sized holes in that logic but the demons that use it can be especially persuasive at times.

The funny thing is that I deal with a couple of perfectionists at work.  So I do have to break that cycle from time to time or they’d never get anything done because they’d keep writing and reviewing and rewriting and on and on.  It is an easy trap to fall into and I’m constantly reminding them of it.  Yes, it is another one of those moments where I play one part at work and a totally different part as a dance student.  And the dance student part of me ignores what the work part of me has said to others.

And it is also why I try to push this quote to counter the two I started with:

“Perfect is the enemy of the good”

Not a complete contradiction since the first two don’t really demand perfection although you could argue that the “close only counts” is almost there.

I think I like that quote a lot better.  Close can count.  If you’ve worked and prepared and you can honestly look back and say you gave it your best effort, then the outcome isn’t as critical.  In a competitive situation, you can really only control what you can do.  And all you can really do is dance to the best of your abilities.  And keep smiling and keep moving no matter what happens.

Since I’m feeling a little uplifting, here are a few more quotes:

“Always Do Your Best.  Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”  Don Miguel Ruiz

“To have faith doesn’t mean you get any less frustrated when you don’t do your best, but you know that it’s not life and death.  Take what you’re given, and when you continue to work hard, you will see results.  That will give you the confidence to keep going.”  Tom Lehman

“You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried.  If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try – you don’t take the risk.” Rosalynn Carter


One comment

  1. Loved your comment here on each dance and how it is done either perfect or sucks. And, if it sucks, then that must be on me. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I copied and printed it, and it hangs in my office where only I can see it, some of the time. Thanks for that dark inspiration – it makes me smile!

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