The Imperfection of Chasing Perfection !


Ask any movie expert, and they will point out that the first “Avengers” movie(the highest grossing Marvel movie back in 2012) had the most continuity (i.e., logical) mistakes in it.



Alludes to the point how imperfection is more profitable than perfection.



“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in”- Leonard Cohen



Sure you don’t want to be on an airplane with a pilot who announces that we have a 90% chance of landing and taking off perfectly. Nor be at the mercy of a heart surgeon doing your bypass saying that he was content with doing an adequate job. You would know the classic interview line when the interviewee is asked about a weakness and the response is “my greatest weakness is that I am too much of a perfectionist“.



Perfectionism is what prompts people to appear to be living their best lines online but hide their physical and emotional scars in shame. This malaise started well before the advent of social media(a generation before superbly air brushed images began to be posted on Instagram). In a hyper competitive world, the pressure on kids from their parents to be the best and to be the receiving end of harsh criticism when they were not, meant that kids began to judge their worth based on the absence of inadequacies. What an exacting standard to live up to!!



Let’s go back to another example from the movies. I read this in the mercurial Ben Settle‘s email newsletters. There is a fascinating book called the “Backstory 1”.



It’s the first of four volumes of interviews with screenwriters for Hollywood’s “golden” age. And the insights & lessons inside are not only extremely thought-provoking, but can be extremely profitable, too. Take, for example, an interview inside with screenwriter Richard Maibaum, where he dropped a zinger about a conversation he had with Alfred Hitchcock.



Here is what he said:



[Hitchcock] said to me, “Did you read what we’ve got?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “What did you think about it?” I replied, “It’s not very logical.” He grimaced and said, “Oh, dear boy, don’t be dull. I’m not interested in logic. I’m interested in effect. If the audience ever thinks about logic, it’s on their way home after the show, and by that time, you see, they’ve paid for their tickets.”



Too much logic sucks out the drama, rinses out the ‘effect‘.



The Japanese tea ceremony is indeed a ‘thing‘. Back in the 16th Century it underwent a seismic shift. Immaculate dishes were replaced with chipped bowls. People drank from pottery that was worn and weathered. The Japanese called this practice ‘wabi sabi‘. Wabi sabi is the art of honoring the beauty in imperfection. It’s not about creating intentional imperfections- it’s more about accepting that imperfections are inevitable and recognising that they don’t stop something from becoming sublime.



One of the all time great songs from Bollywood ‘Chingari Koi Badke‘, sung by Kishore Kumar and composed by the seminal R D Burman, orginated from a misplayed guitar chord. You may want to know more about it here



We grow by embracing our shortcomings, not by punishing them. Look no further. The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. No, I am dead serious. And it is a matter of grave concern. The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was far too obsessed with waiting for the perfect time, the perfect place, the perfect partner, the perfect market…



There is a reason why it is coined ‘cause and effect‘, not ’cause and perfect’. Striving for social approval(read perfection) comes with a cost. Extrinsic factors like popularity and appearance rather than intrinsic factors like growth and connection exudes a case of lower well-being. Seeking validation is a bottomless pit.



Makes imperfect sense?







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