Emily's FlowersIn my home, there is a watercolor painting that I treasure – to me it’s perfection.  It was painted by my older daughter when she was in junior high school.  It is the only painting we have of our daughter’s – in fact, it’s the only painting she’s ever done. You see, she didn’t achieve what she thought she should have – the painting didn’t match what she saw in her mind.  It wasn’t the perfection she sought.

As I’m writing this, my grandson is being tested for his black belt in Tae Won Do – the grandmaster stated at the beginning that he’s not looking for technique but focus and attention.  If a student has learned 60% of what they were taught, that’s good enough to advance.  Perfection is not required.

I enjoy woodworking – it’s a serious avocation for me.  Not only do I spend considerable amounts of time and effort in my workshop making on the close order of 100 projects a year – everything from small turned objects to large furniture projects, but there’s also the time spent working for my local woodturning group and trips for symposia and education.  I enjoy the process of making real objects – objects that will be used by family and friends as well as objects that will bring beauty into people’s lives.  The joy I see in someone’s eyes when they receive a handmade object from me is worth all the effort.  And the satisfaction of being able to meet a need that was going unanswered – an urn for a unclaimed veteran or a lidded bowl for a child with cancer to store their Hero Beads – gives a special purpose to what could be a otherwise mundane activity.  Perfection is not required.

My woodworking is not perfect – I don’t spend enough time doing it and I don’t consistently practice the same techniques enough, so I can execute them flawlessly.  It’s a lot like my writing.

But my output brings joy and satisfaction – to myself and others.  Perfection is not required.

Because I’m willing to be less than perfect, I’m able to do.  I know that it won’t be perfect, but I’ll be closer to perfection when I try the next time.  I can learn from the act of doing what I would otherwise never know.

So, try and persist, knowing your efforts will not be perfect.  Perfection is not required.

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.