Pat Katz Pat Katz




PAUSE – 13.16 – Where Might Imperfect Be More Than Enough?

Reflection: One of life’s great stressors is the drive to make things perfect. Sure, there are circumstances where perfection matters. Defusing a bomb and fixing an aneurysm come to mind.

Now, I don’t know about your world, but those tasks have never been part of my everyday life. As I heard someone observe recently, not everything we do is ‘rocket surgery’!

What I do see is a lot of time and effort invested in perfecting that last 10 or 20% whether it’s writing the perfect report or maintaining an immaculate home.

There is a time to improve our skills and advance our performance by applying a critical eye to the task at hand.  But it will be a joyless painful journey if we are perpetually bent on perfection – ever at the mercy of a critical mind.

Poking holes in progress is a hurtful inclination if we don’t stop to embrace and appreciate where we have come from and what we have accomplished – however imperfect it may be.

Early in my attempts to paint with watercolors, I made a lot of mud – mud being the painterly term for ‘greyed out colors lacking contrast and shape’.

What I’ve come to understand is that many who do not paint themselves consider even minor mud a masterpiece. We stand in in awe of what others attempt, simply because we can’t imagine ourselves having the courage or skill to give it a try.

Don’t be too quick to discard, reject, or condemn the results of your own efforts. There is often a place for less than perfect outcomes. In fact, a certain quirkiness may bring value of its own.

Japanese potters practice the art of Kintsugi – mending broken objects by filling the cracks with resin sprinkled with powdered gold.  They believe that objects with their own imperfections and history become more beautiful – not less.


Action: So, here’s a question to pause and ponder today. Where, in your life, might imperfect be more than enough?


Quotes Of The Week: When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target. – George Fisher

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. – Harriet Braiker


Resource Of The Week: Check out this great article on this week’s topic: Perfectionism – Overcoming All-or-Nothing Thinking.


Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Where Do Your Threads Lead, here are excerpts from a reply by Pause reader DP: From my earliest memories, I too have been fascinated by words. I love to play with them. Even before I could read I could sense that there was something wonderful, something magical about those squiggly lines appearing on paper.

As a teenager I wrote little plays for my sister and friends to act in and words to music that I would make up. Later, books were still in my life, but now I started dreaming of writing one.

Maybe with my upcoming retirement, things will settle and I’ll be able to commit to it. Thank you for helping me begin to see the connection of all these threads.

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