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Why should you help your kids strive for excellence not perfection?

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Why should you help your kids strive for excellence not perfection?

In the pursuit of personal and professional growth, it's crucial to distinguish between perfection and excellence. Striving for perfection can lead to feelings of inadequacy and hinder progress, while aiming for excellence is a more attainable and productive goal.

Discover: Understanding the Difference Between Perfection and Excellence

Perfection is an elusive target that often results in stress and incomplete projects. For example, consider a book that is poorly written but complete and ready for publishing versus a meticulously written book that remains unfinished. The former can still reach an audience, while the latter offers no value in its incomplete state. This demonstrates that perfection, in its quest for flawlessness, is often unachievable and counterproductive.

Excellence, on the other hand, is about reaching a high standard that meets all necessary criteria without the unrealistic expectation of flawlessness. It's about recognizing that good enough can often be more than sufficient.

Build: Applying the Law of Diminishing Returns

The Law of Diminishing Returns is a vital concept in shifting from perfection to excellence. Imagine dedicating excessive hours to a simple task, such as spending 25 hours on a two-page paper. While you might achieve an A grade, the disproportionate effort detracts from other important areas of life and well-being. Similarly, spending six hours washing and waxing a car when a two-hour job would suffice shows how perfectionism can waste valuable time.

By building a mindset that values efficient use of time and effort, you can achieve excellent results without unnecessary strain. This shift allows for balance and productivity across all areas of life.

Apply: Setting and Pursuing Excellence

To effectively apply the concept of excellence, start by defining the desired level of quality for each task or goal. Determine what "excellent" means in various contexts—be it a school project, a work assignment, or a personal goal—and set clear, attainable standards.

For instance, in an academic setting, consider the weight of each assignment. A major project might require more effort than a minor homework task. Set a target level of quality based on the impact and importance of the task, then work to meet this standard without overextending yourself.

In sports or other areas, choose goals that are challenging yet realistic, focusing on aspects you can control. This approach fosters progress and development without the pitfalls of perfectionism.

By embracing excellence over perfection, you not only enhance your productivity and satisfaction but also maintain your sanity. Excellence, with its balance of high standards and achievable goals, always leads to superior outcomes in terms of time, quality, and overall well-being.

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Hi, I Am ValErie Alston

Certified Mental Performance Consultant

Resilience Trainer and Performance Expert for the Army


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