My Life Changed When I Stopped Aiming for Perfection

Because perfection means you cannot change

In a world as imperfect as this one, perfection should never be the goal.

How could it be?

It can’t be because perfection never lasts. Aiming for a goal that has no staying power, that isn’t evergreen, is a waste of energy.

Lasting change doesn’t come from perfection. It comes from the small and daily deposits. The 1% that remains imperceptible to all others except for the individual measuring it.

Stumbling forward with an inch of progress here, a half-inch there — that’s where lasting change is made.

The reason slow progress lasts is because it isn’t perfect. Imperfections give us something to fight, a necessary uphill.

The necessity for consistency, for patience — this is the source of both greatness and wisdom. If each of these could be earned overnight, then everyone would have both attributes.

And attributes that everyone has are no longer as attractive or worthy of the commitment.

Counting in inches, focusing on pieces of a puzzle rather than the puzzle itself, that’s where lasting progress is made.

Sure, there can be missteps in focusing too much on the trees rather than the forest. But at the same time, any attempt to grasp an entire mammoth of a goal all at once will leave one flailing about in their own shortcomings. That’s a spot no one benefits from, and one that no one should be recommending.

Too often people are aiming for perfection as if perfection would bring happiness, meaning, into an otherwise distressful livelihood.

But it isn’t ever perfection that provides the antidote to distress.

It’s improvement. It’s progress. It’s working meaningfully towards a goal that is attainable and measurable and realistic.

The antidote lies in the work it takes on the journey toward achievement, not in any illusion of perfection.

Progress, for all its shortcomings, means change and growth — two things perfection could never offer.

Phil Rosen is a writer, editor, and blogger. His bestselling travel book is available on Amazon.

If you want to see more of his ideas, check out his travel and lifestyle blog and Instagram.

Bestselling travel writer. Columnist. Author. USC Annenberg School of Journalism.

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