Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Aim for Success Not Perfection

I have always believed we should strive for excellence in everything we do.

I realise it is not always possible to achieve our aspirations but that does not prevent us from aiming high.

There is surely no excitment in achieving targets that are too easy to reach.

I am not suggesting that we set targets that are out of reach but I remember the 'No gain without pain' quote from Prime Minister John Major a few years ago - I think it was him.

There is clearly something in that quote. Just think about an excercise campaign or a diet. Annie and I are doing both and having some 'pain' but we are winning.
I remember listening to a talk from an experienced Doctor 10 years ago. In a conference about excellence in heathcare he talked about his concept of "GOOD ENOUGHNESS" ... I rather like that .... it is not about poor standards ..it is about being good enough. Personally, I prefer excellence as an aspiration but I can see where the Doctor is coming from.

The following quote hit my desk this morning... I like it

"Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person."

Dr. David M. Burns


Susan said...

I have a lovely quote regarding perfection:

"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away." --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Also, it just so happens that in the local newspaper, a syndicated columnist wrote the other day about "good enough." He brought up some profound differences between "first rate and second rate."

If you have time, that particular article can be accessed here:

Trevor Gay said...

Thank you Susan - I have read the article from Thomas Sowell - it is fascinating.

I agree with his conclusion that 'good enough' is sometimes not 'good enough.'

One quality of great leaders is they always strive for excellence and they set that example of excellence in their deeds and in their management style ... and perhaps more importantly, with their personal and professional integrity.

I might take issue with Mr Sowell about objective measures only being used to dictate how kids are accepted or not into institutions.

I have always felt the main thing passing exams proves, is that one is good at taking exams!!

Don't misundersand me - I passed many exams in my career and I am proud of that and so should anyone be who passes exams but this is just one measure of the person.

Some of the most effective people I have ever met or heard of have no academic qualifications or objective mesurements that prove them to be 'better then the next person.'