Perfection and Excellence- The Search for New Balance

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”- Vince Lombardi.

This message is very important because it raises the distinction between excellence and perfection. While most of use strive for excellence, and we know perfection does not exist, many of us still suffer from ‘perfectionism’. This can then impact our endeavours and our enterprises in ways we may not want.

We are not perfect, business is not perfect, and financial/ property markets are not perfect. Yet, the line between excellence and perfectionism is often a difficult one to draw. What are the criteria? And how do we draw the line consistently- in our lives and in our enterprises?

Aspects of the Western Personal Growth movement has contributed to this question by insisting on constant and never ending improvement. How does this help us draw the line between excellence and perfection? Or does constant growth or improvement mean we can never reach either excellence or perfection? Does this mean, we never reach a point of satisfaction or contentment in ourselves or our enterprises? Money and ‘keeping score’ do not seem to answer these questions well enough.

This discussion raises an even deeper issue involving growth and contentment, sufficiency or in modern terms, sustainability. This issue and the sustainability concept is likely to dominate our thinking in this century as we grapple with complex business, and other problems, including climate change.

Perhaps the meeting point between excellence and perfection or constant growth is a central dynamic position where a New Balance is found. This can occur personally and in our enterprises. The concept of sustainability might be the beginning of this thinking, and there is already good evidence of business leaders doing some very innovative things here. For example, the philanthropic examples of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates show us the true purpose of wealth is to service- to contribute deeply to our communities. Maybe excellence and perfection are found here- in the nature and extent of our personal and professional abilities to serve others?

Naturally, how we all address these issues will vary. How you are thinking about such questions, and what practical steps you are taking in your life and your enterprises in this regard? Such questions are important beginnings.

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbour- such is my idea of happiness.” – Leo Tolstoy

Lee Spano, Creatness International, www.creatness.com

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