I am reminded of a quote by the legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi who said, "perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." Perfection is one of those words, like love, that we tend to use lightly. We see something we like, perhaps something of beauty, and say that it is sheer perfection. We say things like, "the perfect glass of wine to go with the meal" or "the perfect pair of shoes for an outfit." But are these things truly perfect? I think the answer is no. Perfection is a very subjective thing. And that's not to say that perfection isn't a good thing; it does serve a useful purpose. While we go hopping, or chasing, around trying to be perfect, we can cover a lot of ground. We find out who we are; what we're made of of, and just how imperfect we really are. But that's where excellence comes into play.
I believe that accepting our faults is part of achieving greatness. Embracing our frogginess...or humanness, is what will make us real. It's pretty darn difficult to be around someone who never has a hair out of place, or can't laugh at themselves when they make a silly mistake. We like those individuals that aren't seen as perfect. We want to be around them. They have a sense of okayness about them;they understand that everyone has flaws and warts. They seem to say, "Here I am world! Take me or leave me, but this is who I am."
Many a wise man, and frog, has said that we shouldn't focus on the destination...that life is meant to be about he journey. And that's true for achieving excellence. We don't simply start off being great, or excellent, it can be a long, slow, and often difficult road; trying things out, seeing what works and what doesn't. To achieve excellence, we first have to fall flat on our face. That's where accepting our flaws comes into play. Those who achieve greatness will tell you that they tripped and fell often and hard, as they searched for their true path. But they will also tell you that it was well worth it. Those scars and bruises make us who we are. They toughen us up. We learn from these experiences. Good, bad, or indifferent, we will all have our share of obstacles and challenges to face. But greatness is saying, "Bring 'em on. I can handle them," rather than stopping and retreating backwards. We are all created to be excellent, even great. The trick is, accepting it. And that's not always easy. Those around us can often shoot us down with well-meaning intentions. Those voices of fear and jealousy get stuck in our heads. They repeat and repeat. Until we choose to ignore them and persevere, never giving up on attaining our dreams; of attaining our own personal excellence.This is what is called being great.
Attaining perfection is impossible, but it's a worthy goal to shoot for, as long as you know it'll never happen. We can work towards it. We can constantly strive to be better, to do better. And it's true. There's always room for improvement. Heck, I bet if you could go back in time and ask Mother Teresa if she was perfect, she'd smile and say, "I'm not even close to being perfect." And she'd be right. Some of us do get a lot closer to perfection than others, Mother T is was one of them, but each of us can, if we decide to pursue it, can achieve our personal best...the greatness that lies within each of us...if we're willing to do the work and not focus so much on the final destination.
Perfection is an illusion. Greatness, however, is real and very, very possible.