For many of us, every day is a challenge to be greater. In our early years, we are taught and expected to achieve high marks in our exams as this often becomes the basis for our evaluations. As we age, this strive for perfection continues and quite often becomes more difficult to achieve.

To be the perfect son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother, friend or employee is a goal many of us would like to achieve. After all, who doesn’t want to be seen as being perfect?

However, the more you desire perfection, the more disappointment you may feel.

Differences Between Perfection and Excellence

Perfection is a goal that is near to impossible to achieve, and while it is good to set high standards, keeping them unreasonably high is not.

Instead of striving for perfection seek excellence.

Below is the difference between perfection and excellence and why it is better to strive for excellence.

Your Focus

If you strive for perfection, you look directly at your goal and your success depends only on the achievement of that goal. The process is often overlooked. The journey is not enjoyed and there is no mindful appreciation of the experience. Other people’s feelings and needs may be overlooked and you may deny yourself many pleasures.

Alternatively, when seeking excellence, you focus on the process rather than the results. Of course, you maintain an awareness of the desired outcomes. However, you value the process and gain from it no matter the outcome. Whether you achieve your goal or not, you come out a winner as you learn from the journey and experience.

Your Perception of Mistakes

When you aim for perfection, a mistake is a big NO. For a perfectionist, a mistake is a big drawback. If you make a mistake, then you feel you have failed miserably.

On the other hand, mistakes are viewed as feedback and opportunities for improvement when you aim for excellence. They will push you forward rather than hold you back. You may fall temporarily but you come back stronger.

Your Goal

As a perfectionist, you make a goal that is unreasonably high, making it sometimes impossible to achieve. You often feel stressed because your goal requires so much effort, and feels like you will never reach it.

When seeking excellence, you still set challenging objectives, but ones that are more realistic, and your hard work pays off at the end of the day. Achievable targets are set and attained and enthusiasm is maintained.

Your View of Other People

When you always seek perfection, friendly advice sounds like a criticism to you. This means that your relationships with most people become adversarial at different times. You easily take their comments negatively and think that they want to criticize you rather than help you.

If you seek excellence, you are able to objectively determine whether or not another person’s words are meant to be positive and helpful. This makes relationships collaborative rather than combative, as you recognize that other people help motivate you to grow.

Your Take On New Things

As a perfectionist, you detest and fear failure. This fear limits you from taking on new things and challenging yourself. Rather than trying something new, you prefer to just keep doing what you have been doing, because you have become so good at it that you know you are less likely to fail.

If you want to pursue excellence, you take risks by doing something new. If and when you ‘fail’, you take this as a lesson and still give yourself a pat on the back for taking on the challenge of doing something new.

Your Satisfaction

When your goal is perfection, you long for other people’s appreciation of your efforts. However, when your aim is for excellence, you do not require others’ recognition or vindication for satisfaction. Even if no one recognizes your success, you still feel happy because you know you have accomplished something worthwhile.

You do not need anyone’s approval to make you feel successful or happy. You can achieve far less than ‘perfection’ and still be happy because your efforts were worth it. You gave it your best, even if the results weren’t what you expected.