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Why You Should Strive for Progress, Not Perfection?

Why You Should Strive for Progress, Not Perfection?Updated on January 15, 2021 | Published on December 9, 2019
Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD, Certified Psychiatrist

Progress Not Perfection Is The Right Approach

Ever since we were kids, most of us were taught to be perfect. This perfection meant working hard to get the best marks, be the best dressed in the class and so many other things. The competition starts when you are kids and only continues until you realize that progress not perfection should be your focus. Perfection is a journey, and progressing in this journey is the best way to live life to the fullest.

As kids, many of us are often burdened with the pressure to live up to the expectations of our parents, friends, and peers. It is normal for people to expect things from us. Problems begin to arise when we burden ourselves with these expectations and begin to assume that it is our duty to fulfill them.

‘Strive for Progress Not Perfection’ Meaning

Everyone aspires to be perfect. After all, who does not want a good job, a big house, great friends and maybe even a chance to travel the world. The idea sounds so tempting, doesn’t it? But ask yourself, why do you want all this? Is it because you want others to be proud of you? If that is the case, you are missing out on all the fun in life. This is because you are investing efforts to please others. In most cases, the end result of these efforts will be failures.

Needless to say, the failure will pinch. Instead, focusing on progress not perfection will help you make the most of the opportunities in life. There is no need for others to be proud of you. Your focus should be to lead a life that you are proud of. Implementing this simple philosophy will bring about a positive change in your life.

Reasons Why to Strive for Progress & Not Perfection

1) It is okay to be imperfect

We are all born with unique capabilities. You may not be able to do what your friend does. But that is okay. However, this does not mean that you should compromise on the standards that you set. Of course, you need to set high standards and strive towards achieving them.

Your focus should be on progressing towards your goal and not achieving perfect results. The thing is, if you keep perfection as your goal, the end result will most likely be a failure. Simply because, each time you attain your pre-defined standards of perfection, someone somewhere would have altered the definition.

If people around you keep pointing at your imperfection, do not strive to meet their expectations. Instead, become the best at your job and pursue your goals in life!

5 Reasons Why to Strive Progress Not Perfection
5 Reasons Why to Strive Progress Not Perfection

2) Failure is the new normal

As we said, perfection is a journey. And in this journey, you are allowed to make mistakes. Yes! You should not hesitate to try new things. If you try something new and it does not work out, you have not failed. Instead, it should register as learning. After all, it was an experience and you learned what does not work, even if it was the hard way. Your focus should be on investing consistent efforts, learning and improving your technique to progress.

According to interesting research done on a bunch of students, learning about the struggles of renowned scientists like Einstein helped them pursue their studies with stronger motivation. Interestingly, these students were failing to score good marks in their science exams before they learned about the struggles of the scientists.

3) Moving ahead is important

Many times, people may complain that you are progressing at a very slow pace. But that should not deter your efforts. Instead, you should continue your focussed approach. Remember, as long as you are moving forward towards achieving your goal, the pace should not matter. Of course, if there is an opportunity to learn and improve, go for it.

4) Strive for excellence not perfection

Nothing is beyond your reach. When you are planning, aim for the sky. There will be many people who will discourage you from aiming high. But you should not give up. With hard work and determination, no goal is impossible. If the cause truly convinces you, do not hesitate to pursue it. All you need to remember is that you are pursuing the goal for yourself and not to please others.

5) Progress fuels positivity

Progress is a reason to celebrate. Yes! Every small achievement in the journey is a reason to pat your back. You have worked hard to get there and so you should celebrate. Another important thing to understand is that these little joys in life, fuel a certain positivity. This positivity motivates you to work harder towards achieving the bigger goals.

Concluding Note

Focusing on progress not perfection i.e. ‘Strive for Excellence Not Perfection’ allows you to see the brighter side in life. You learn to appreciate your effort and celebrate the small wins in life. Interestingly, when you start looking at perfection as a journey and progress as the goal, learning improves considerably. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that perfection is never about doing unique things or putting extraordinary efforts. On the contrary, it is all about doing ordinary things but with extraordinary accuracy. We often end up criticizing our efforts.

But when you start believing in progress not perfection, the self-criticism ceases to exist. Needless to say, this becomes a big positive change that helps you lead a happier life.