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Hackernoon logoIs Perfection An Unreasonable Benchmark? by@swayambagla

Is Perfection An Unreasonable Benchmark?

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@swayambaglaSwayam Bagla

Design | Silverware |Software

Before I started turning this question over in my mind, I decided to do something I used to do while preparing for debates when I was in school: I Googled the exact meaning of the word.

And there were the results !

If you look at how Oxford defines 'Perfect' as a verb , you would realise that the two interpretations and hence the two meanings are actually contradictory to each other. While one school of thought defines it as to make ( something ) completely free from faults or defects; the other defines it as to make as good as possible.

Yes , I know , the latter definition is a welcome realisation.

I for one, grew up defining Perfection based on the first definition, and also treated it as a very important benchmark.

Whether it was my academics, my behaviour, my relationships, I grew up expecting all of them to be completely free from faults or defects, so much so that I started expecting the same from me.

I soon realised that nothing is perfect (based on my earlier interpretation and the former Oxford Definition), and started passing judgements on myself as well as others around me.

Anything that was shy of Perfect was simply a failure. This wasn’t the best phase of my life and resulted in consequent failures, some of which still bother me today.

Something needed to change. The question was should I now change my personal benchmark to Average? Should we accept that performance can sometimes just not be perfect or free from defects? What do we do if we have made many mistakes in the past, can Life or Work never be Perfect again?

That’s when I realised the importance of Fresh Starts.

If we had to go by the former definition of the word Perfect , then even the most successful person would fail to make that benchmark and be subsequently declared a failure.

We are Human after all and while the former definition is important in theory, the latter definition makes it an attainable goal.

Perfection, when it is defined “to make as good as possible”, is a much more realistic as a benchmark.

While making important decisions , we are often consumed by this important question. Whether it’s a life decision , or a decision to build a new ERP, or a decision to expand into new markets, all we must evaluate is that — in those given circumstances, will the decision help us reach the best that is possible ? We cannot guarantee that it will be free from defects , but can we have to make sure that it’s the best solution possible.

My experience while designing and implementing Custom ERPs for our clients at Infimonk, has reiterated this belief of mine. No matter how much we try, every business process has its own exceptions, and implementing a solution free from all defects is impossible. While we deliver the best solution possible given the current circumstances (information in our case ) , the drive towards a system free from all faults or defects remains a constant pursuit — something we can only come closer to with every subsequent attempt.

Perfection is not an unreasonable benchmark.

Maybe not the former definition, nor the latter one. While the first is important for strategy the second one is important to evaluate operations.

Neither my life nor my work is free from defects, but I also trust it’s the best that’s possible. 

My Life is Perfect. Is Yours ?

P.S. Would Like to use this opportunity to apologise to everyone I may have wronged based on my naive interpretation of the benchmark I created for myself. I should have known better.


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