Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Difficulty With Being Perfect

I was having an exchange with a colleague today who was getting exasperated with my advice.  In the last exchange, he (whom I will refer to as Dave) said “Look, it’s easy for you to say this.  You’ve never made mistakes.  You never worry.   People like you don’t understand how the rest of us live”.

It’s not the first time I have tried to help someone and been told that.

If Dave and others knew the burden of being perfect, they wouldn’t treat perfect people such as myself and others so harshly.

Of course, if they really knew the definition of a “perfect” person, they would know something else.

They would know that those whom they consider perfect are as far from perfect as one could get.

Yes, it is true that my upbringing gave me an unfair advantage that put me far ahead of the pack in the Race of Life.  For example, here is a picture of my family’s first house when I was young:


An unfair advantage indeed!

And yes, I had a very successful career from an early age, whether it was architecting Canada’s first PC-based insurance system or solving complex problems on Wall St.   I did it so effortlessly, I am told. 

Truth is, I just never let people see me sweat or hear me second-guessing my capabilities as I dealt with fraud complex at an early age (the inability to accept that one deserves the awards and accolades that one is receiving).

Years later, when I was driving the software company that I cofounded in NYC towards a subsequent acquisition / IPO, a number of colleagues wished they could trade places with me.  After all, they said, Life is much easier when you are on the top than it is when you are working for someone else.

Yes, there was a lot of excitement working at the top.  But sometimes when my colleagues were fast asleep, I was awake wondering if we would make the next payroll or if the next big deal was the one that would save or sink the company, its employees and their families whom I was responsible for.

Did I make any mistakes along the way? Hah – if you only knew! :-)

When it comes to personal relationships, I have made more than my share of mistakes.  In fact, some mistakes were outright failures on my part.

So what does all of this mean?

Absolutely nothing.

Life is what it is - I am perfect in my imperfection as is everyone on this planet.

If Life were easy, we would all steamroll to the top and then, looking around and experiencing a challenge-free Life, we would look to the sky and say '”Is this it?  Is this all there is?”

We would have little to be proud of, including accomplishments or examples of personal growth.  After all, how many of us brag about the days when we were rewarded for no effort on our part?

Fortunately, Life forces us to be challenged, forces us to grow and to rise above challenge.

Even when we don’t want to.

Or rather .... especially when we don’t want to.

It has been said that when a bird wants to fly fast, it flies with the wind but when it wants to fly high, it flies against the wind.

So the question is:

Do we prefer to get somewhere easily with minimal reward or to be forced to fly high to find the rewards that are commensurate with our immeasurable potential?

I believe that when we reach our personal end-of-days, we discover at that moment that we were indeed perfect for the journey we just experienced.

In the meantime, we shouldn’t allow our potential to be diminished by the belief that our state of perfection is any different than anyone else’s, since that belief becomes a millstone around our neck and prevents us from accomplishing the things we wish to achieve.

We should focus on enhancing the state of perfection in ourselves and others instead of constantly comparing ourselves to others.

Until then, we’ll have to be content with our state of imperfection and continue to work towards refining ourselves, to bringing our result as close as possible to our potential. 

We will also need to be content with failing once in a while, since such mistakes and the learning associated with them bring us closer to growth and a state of perfection.

Well … you will have to be content with this.

Because I’m already perfect. :-)

Create a great day for yourself and others, in service and servanthood.


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