A batting average, in its simplest form, is the number of successful hits, divided by the number of attempts. Practice makes “perfect” but what happens when striving for perfection prevents us from practicing?
Many children of baby boomers were brought up to believe that we can accomplish anything. While perhaps we are capable of great accomplishments if we put our mind to it, we, and the things we do, are not perfect.
“Perfection” is a prevalent theme throughout Western Culture. We believe that a perfect person never makes mistakes, always knows the right answer and is not flawed in any way, shape or form (best of luck finding them). When we fall short of this self imposed goal we become fiercely hard on ourselves. Many avoid situations, riddled with anxiety, for fear of being seen as imperfect. We are paralysed by a fear of failure, consumed with concerns of how awful it would be if others saw our flaws.
Others believe that perfection is a currency which measures worth; failing to feel perfect leaves one feeling less accepted, and less acceptable. We self soothe the pain of not being perfect, using any number of the multiple vices available to numb or hide the feelings away, bolster our confidence and help us feel either closer to perfection, or less bothered by our inability to reach it.
But what is perfection anyway, how do you really know when you’ve reached it? Can’t we always do things that little bit better? Be a better friend, lover, employee, therapist or even client? Without mistakes, we’d be living in a utopian world that had no sense of perfection, given that it would be the only alternative. We need the downs to appreciate the ups; this works well, because, I’m afraid to tell you, the downs are not going anywhere. Mistakes are part of human nature and not only have we already made them (some real doozys) we will continue to make them. It is through the mistakes we’ve made, that show us how to do better next time!
Our demand for perfection makes the mistakes that we make harder to accept, understand and reconcile. You will make mistakes. You are not perfect. You will navigate those mistakes, learn from those mistakes and recover and move on from those mistakes. Accepting that, and being prepared for the failures, will ultimately improve your batting average. If you face a failure head on, acknowledge that it happens, recognize its place in the grand scheme of the universe, and know that you will also succeed despite your failures, you will be best positioned to deal with and manage your mistakes. You will recover from them faster and ultimately perhaps make fewer mistakes, improving your batting average and not allowing your failures to slow you down.