The pursuit of perfection, although an admirable ambition, sometimes gets in the way of one enjoying the moment. In my younger years, I remember reading a story about two people who scored a perfect score on the SAT test. I was in the mist of preparing for the SAT test and decided that perfection was my only option. I took the test, and sadly, did not score a perfect score. Although I scored high enough to attend any school in the country, the thought of being perfect kept me from enjoying the moment. Since that time, I have learned to enjoy and celebrate my continuous pursuit of being better. Here a few things you can seek on your way to excellence.
1. Seek purpose. On your way to excellence, seek your true purpose. To do the wrong thing perfectly is not perfection. To be perfect, you must do what you were created to do. If you know in your heart that you should be a teacher, teach. Being the best teacher that you can be is better than being a perfect engineer. Purpose leads to perfection. This realization is true for all the dimensions of your life.
2. Seek to be kind. Kindness is in your sphere of control. You do not need a degree, special training, or help from others to be kind. When others are unkind, you can still choose kindness. The way you get to perfection matters. Wounding others along the way takes away from your personal accomplishments. The continuous pursuit of kindness is the forerunner to your continuous pursuit of being better.
3. Seek contentment. Contentment is happiness (temporal state) coupled with peace (permanent state). It is simply a way of accepting one’s current life state and being grateful, happy, and at peace with it. This attitude of contentment leads to more positive outcomes as a result of the harmony that goes with being contented. Contentment is the ability to forget those things that are behind and to reach forward to those things that are ahead. This is the stepping-stone needed for the continuous pursuit of being better.
4. Seek balance. Balance is the even distribution of weight that enables a person to remain upright and steady. Being upright is a vertical state that deals with your relationship with others, and is predicated on things being in their proper place physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You cannot be upright and depressed at the same time. Balance brings the steady positioning needed to make contentment possible.
5. Seek oneness with the Father. To seek perfection without seeking God is futile. Peace with God is the whole duty of man. “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” Matthew 8:36. The Lord’s Prayer admonishes you to refer to him as your heavenly Father. He is the only one that is perfect so He is the only one qualified to lead you to perfection. The pursuit of God is the pursuit of perfection.
Although I never received a perfect SAT score, I have a wonderful life. I have peace with God, family and friends who love me, purpose, balance, and contentment. Because of this, I can declare myself above all men most richly blessed. I may not be perfect, but I am better. I pray that you will find the courage to make the incremental changes needed to be better. Although you may never achieve perfection, you too can have a wonderful life!
Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. For copies of his book, questions, comments or more information, go to www.tlhouston.com.