Perfect comes from the Latin word per (which means through) and fect (which comes from a verb meaning to do). Literally perfect means to make through. In other words, perfect means complete or finished.
Somewhere along the years perfect acquired additional meaning of flawless and began to also imply a judgement of worth, especially self-worth.
If you can make something perfect, you’re awesome.
It’s a message that many high schoolers, parents, coaches, and everyone else says to themselves. AND IT”S A TRAP.
Striving for “perfect” fools us into believing that making something without flaws is even possible. And when something momentarily seems perfect, that pat-on-the-back is merely a set-up for the next round when experience with previous perfection prevents us from taking risks. We become wary of the possibility of being wrong and we work really hard to look good.
There’s nothing wrong with looking good.
There is a lot wrong with not taking the risk of being wrong. (There’s an irony for you…)
With new coaches training to be certified Academic Life Coaches, the biggest advancement I see in their skills occurs when they stop trying to be perfect and let the coaching be simple and direct.
With high school students, the biggest steps they take forward are when they relax enough to look at the habits and systems in their lives and stop trying to make stuff perfect.
With parents – and I know this one is close to my heart – it feels fabulous when we can release the stress, realize that we can’t be the perfect parent or provide the perfect setting for our kids, and instead aim for making things simple.
Simple is the antidote for a case of the perfects.