Growing up on the East Coast, it had always appeared as though there was a “One Answer Fits All” mindset. There was a “Right Way” and most were quick to judge whether or not you were doing something the “Right Way” or not. Over the years, and having lived in different states with different approaches to life, I have come to learn that there is no “Right Way”. There isn’t even a “My Way” that lasts for long when confronted with extenuating circumstances.

Over the years, I have seen many people struggle with the recipe of 3 parts Perfectionism to 1 part Self-Esteem. It is interesting that the perfectionistic ideals I have seen others struggle through usually do not even subscribe to the definition of Perfect that they would use to describe a loved-one’s efforts. And therein lies the issue. The double-standard, the get-out-of-jail-free card that you give to those you see working hard or simply doing the best they can. Even easier is the child or pet who is Perfect just because he/she exists. But, for the Perfectionist, little Perfection can gain them the adoration or acknowledgement they worked for in the first place. The “Good Job” and pat on the shoulder you received when you were first able to read and write your own name is scarce in the adult and “ultra serious” world we have created for ourselves.

Recently, I visited Seattle’s Museum of Flight. One thing that deeply amazed me was when I read that we sent people to the moon and back in 1969 with computers MUCH less powerful than a regular, modern-day laptop. Today, we already have the tools that can make each day extraordinary. And yet, we can get discouraged when we say something foolish in front of a boss or date. We often cannot tolerate our discomfort to speak in public in case we might seem uninteresting or unimportant to others. We even criticize our own daily abilities when our shirts show signs of perspiration or when we cook a tasty, but fairly average meal for our families.

This article is not intended to have you drop your ideals or hopes of achieving great things. This article is intended to ask you – 1) What is Perfect? 2) Is that YOUR definition or is it someone else’s? 3) Does an ideal of Perfect help you or in fact harm you instead? 4) Isn’t Amazing good enough? Try to answer these questions. When you can, please do not try to make them fit anyone else or even yourself in 5 years. You change over time… and so will Perfect.