Perfectionism vs. Striving for Excellence

Contrary to some people’s popular belief, being a ‘perfectionist’ is not a good thing.  Perfectionists believe in an obsessive attention to detail and have a continual unwillingness to compromise their desire for perfection. On the surface this sounds great; surely we should strive for perfection in design. Isn’t it good to have an obsessive attention to detail? The problem is that there is no such thing as perfection and relentlessly seeking perfection in one field often undermines others.

“Collaboration and perfection don’t mix.”

Perfection Is

Being right
Anger and Frustration

Perfectionists are not productive often fixated on inconsequential details.  They cannot distinguish between taste and real issues and often don't know how to or want to receive criticism or feedback.  Even if criticism is given properly, positively and by the appropriate standard (according to Thousand Year Films Inc. "Cynicism, Criticism and Feedback" policy) a perfectionist can still struggle to receive it, while having no problem dishing out criticism to others. 

Experience means way above average, an outstanding example or job. Perfection, however, means without any fault whatsoever; it also means absolutely complete, with nothing missing. There is a distinction between perfectionism and striving for excellence. The difference is in the meaning given to mistakes. Those who strive – however intently – for excellence can simply take mistakes (imperfections) as incentive to work harder. Perfectionists on the other hand consider their mistakes a sign of personal defects.

"You don't have to be a perfectionist to care about the details."

Excellence is

Willing to be wrong

Excellence is an attempt to perform a task in the best possible way, whereas perfection is the definite 100% right way of doing anything. Excellence is something that all of us can aspire to – perfection is seldom achievable by mankind. It's important to accept that perfection doesn’t exist, or at minimum is subjective, and keep your standards high but attainable. Settle for as good as can be in the time available and always look at the opportunity cost and make decisions that ultimately give you the highest production value possible within the scarcity of resources available. 

“Excellence allows for occasional mistakes, yet perfection eliminates that possibility. If you expect perfection from yourself, you’ll most likely fail every time.”