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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Teed Off About Perfection

I stumbled across a post about perfection in writing at the Ghostwoods website, which is the website of British writer Tim Dedopulos. The points it made seemed tailor-made for golfers as well, so I'm adapting it a bit of it for our use.

Dedopulos focused on three aspects of perfection that trip writers up. Here's the golf version:
  1. Perfection is impossible. You're never going to get your golf swing in perfect shape. You're never going to play the perfect round. You're never going to know everything you want to know. If you want to enjoy playing the game, you're going to have to learn to live with that. Don't be so hard on yourself out there on the course, and don't let the game take over your life and ruin everything else in the pursuit of perfection. They have a word for that: futile.
  2. Perfection is incremental. This is related to the first one. You can make progress, but you aren't going to just suddenly "arrive." And -- newsflash! -- nobody expects you to suddenly become SuperGolfer. Learn how to take enjoyment in the journey. I know you've heard that said until you're sick of it, but that's because you don't understand what it means. Enjoying the journey doesn't mean the destination doesn't matter. It merely means that each step you take is meaningful in and of itself, as each one brings you closer to your destination, and should therefore be celebrated on its own. You can do that, can't you?
  3. Perfection is meaningless. Look, if you can't be perfect, attempts to become perfect are meaningless. I know what you're going to say -- "it's just a goal to shoot for." WRONG. A goal is, by definition, something that can be attained. Don't aim for perfection; set achievable goals and aim for them.
Perfectionists tend to be difficult people to get along with. The good news is, you don't have to be a perfectionist in order to work hard and bring the best out of yourself. Simply choose challenging goals that are slightly above your current ability and then, once you achieve them, set new goals. New goals can be set over and over and over again as you achieve the old ones... and there is no penalty for doing so!

Bob Rotella has written quite a bit about how golfers struggle with perfection. It looks like perfection is something that plagues pretty much everybody. So make peace with the perfectionist inside you and tell him to hit the road. I suspect you'll make faster improvement that way.

Thus endeth the sermon for today. Smiley Faces

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