In Pursuit of Perfection

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For readers who have been here often you already know the drive for perfectionism that has been a battle since my childhood. From my earliest years I was bombarded with messages to improve, perfect and be the best at whatever I chose to do. This isn’t a bad message to instill in your kids if you teach it properly and be very careful. Perfectionism, criticism and cynicism are close neighbors in my opinion.

If you use positive encouragement and reinforcement to inspire one to be the best, you are going to help raise a child who is more confident, happy and enjoys life more. You have to teach children to learn from mistakes and failures and take away a positive message and inspiration, not taint it with criticism, judgement and cynical remarks. One only needs to look at celebrity sports figures to see how some have achieved greatness in their profession but were psychologically scarred to achieve it.

I myself have never reached the almighty and unattainable perfection in any field, hobby or trial I have faced. I always try to be the best I can be, but I don’t ever consider myself the best at anything. I believe my determination and hard work ethics help me do better than some, some who are smarter, or some who are more knowledgeable but lack dedication, patience and determination.

I do however still get upset with myself if it takes me too long to figure something out, suffer great disappointment with myself if I feel I am not meeting high enough standards or not being as good as I should be. These aren’t as dramatic in my early thirties as they were in my teens and twenties, but the pang of regret and failure is still there.

I share with you this:

Strive to do the best you can, and learn from mistakes to improve. Do not strive to be the best there is, the people who are the best there is are often the ones who weren’t trying to be deliberately, they were just doing there best and ended up there. In some fields Talent really exists and realize that if you don’t have it, find where your gifts lie.

If you have children encourage them to try as many things as possible and you will find what they naturally will gravitate towards. Encourage them to try their best, but if they do try and give it their best shot and fail, do not criticize and tear them down for not doing better.

-Justin Germino

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Updated: January 10, 2010 — 4:21 pm