The Value of Mistakes and Imperfections

Perfection is a fruitless endeavor. It causes much suffering. More precisely, it causes optional suffering, the kind you inflict upon yourself when you really, really do not have to.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

In emails from Tushkateers (members of the Kick in the Tush Club) and various coaching conversations that I've had with a number of my one-on-one coaching clients, the concepts of "normal" and "perfect" have repeatedly surfaced.

True enough, many have wished that they were "normal" and are down, down, down on themselves for not being perfect. I'm curious to know what you think being "normal" (whatever that is) and "perfect" (whatever that is) looks like and what you think being "normal" and "perfect" will do for you.

In his book, "Living Wabi Sabi," Taro Gold writes:

Those who inspire us most do not achieve perfection through greatness: They achieve greatness through imperfection. All of the world's best-loved truth-seekers and religious figures, including Jesus and Buddha, led obviously less-than-perfect lives and were the first to let us know that they, too, were not perfect people.

Perfection is a fruitless endeavor. It causes much suffering. More precisely, it causes optional suffering, the kind you inflict upon yourself when you really, really do not have to.

Mistakes, failure and imperfection have created life-changing explorations and "happy accidents." Did you know that mistakes, a form of imperfection (because if you were perfect you wouldn't make a mistake, would you?), have led to the discovery of DNA, penicillin, aspirin, X-rays, Teflon, Velcro, nylon, cornflakes, Coca-Cola and chocolate-chip cookies?

Can you imagine what it would be like if you woke up and everything went exactly the way you wanted it to go? I mean everything, from the moment you woke up till the end of the day, perfect. There would be no challenge. There would be no growth, no surprise. What would life be like without the surprise element? Dull, dull, dull!

Are you familiar with the 1998 movie "Pleasantville," starring Reese Witherspoon and Tobey McGuire? Robert McDaniel of Film and History described the town of Pleasantville as the perfect place: "It never rains, the highs and lows rest at 72 degrees, the fire department exists only to rescue treed cats, and the basketball team never misses the hoop." However, McDaniel says, "Pleasantville is a false hope. David's journey tells him only that there is no 'right' life, no model for how things are 'supposed to be.'"

Consider the following definitions of the words "normal" and "perfect." The dictionary definition of "normal" is, "Conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. Approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment." The dictionary definition of "perfect" is, "Conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type. Exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose. Entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings. Accurate, exact or correct in every detail. Pure or unmixed."

I don't know about you, but I am happy to embrace my imperfect, not-so-normal self. I am happy to make a mess, spill ink and allow happy accidents to, well, happen! In fact, I look forward to them. It takes the pressure off.

And you? How will you observe your imperfections today? With an open eye and from a new perspective?

Please share your imperfections (below, in the comment section), your no-so-normalness, and any happy accidents that happily befall you.

Spread the word, not the icing,
Janice Taylor



For the best in wellness and weight-loss wisdom, visit Janice at Our Lady of Weight Loss and Virtual Shoulder.

Go To Homepage

Before You Go