Coming from a military background, a zero-defect mentality is simply part of the territory. The expectation of perfection does not tend to render humans into the embodiment of machine-like perfection. Despite this, the expectation must still exist, as lives are frequently on the line.
However, not many career or life situations come with this sort of baggage. Despite this fact of life, far too many people beat themselves up trying to be perfect in some shape or form, or at least closer to the idea of perfection than the person next to them — comparison is the thief of joy.
It is more important for you to be consistent than to strive for perfection, for a few reasons.
Consistency is attainable and sustainable.
Perfection, by its very nature, is impossible. On a temporary basis, you can be flawless. Eventually, however, probability and circumstance will do their work and your progress will be blemished by a mistake. While you are working on short-term perfection in one area, how many other areas will slip? You could easily end up in a constant cycle of push-and-pull, trying to maintain a certain standard all at once.
Consistency, on the other hand, is a matter of developing habits, setting achievable goals, and meeting them. Habits are, by definition, sustainable in the long-term.
Consistency can be counted on.
Because consistency is sustainable, you (and the people who depend on you) know what can be expected.
No one likes to be let down. No one likes to let others down. Insisting on perfection is a good way to do both of these things. Establishing a reputation and track record, however, can be good for everyone.
Establishing consistency is important for your mental health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stressing yourself out in the pursuit of perfection can affect your health in multiple ways. Many people experience anxiety, insomnia, or even eating disorders due to expectations of perfection. Others may turn to alcohol or hard drugs to make themselves feel better. (Neither will make you feel better, though both can cause issues with friends and family, your job, or intimacy.)
Instead, you should focus on establishing a system of consistency. Setting goals, habits, standards, and practices for yourself that you can meet without overwhelming yourself or losing focus. Hitting the gym a few times a week, writing 500 words a day, or doing other acts of kindness for others are all great ideas to establish consistency in your daily life.
At the end of the day, it’s important to accept that establishing perfection isn’t realistic.
Instead, replace that ideal, whether self-imposed or brought to you by others, with expectations that can actually be met. This will lead to a better self-image and impression of you and what you do by others.
Establishing consistency is also important in elevating your career to the next level. Begin Within will guide you through your next move and help you establish those important, consistent habits through career counseling. Book your consultation today.