When you imagine yourself in the future, do you see yourself perfecting something? Are you a perfect spouse? A perfect athlete? A perfect musician? Do you have a perfect body? A perfect job? A perfect life? It may be fun to dream about it, but perfection just doesn’t exist. Being a young dreamer makes the idea of things being perfect in the future an exercise in hope, but when you get to the future, things don’t become more perfect. If anything, they become more complicated, less perfect.
The world is fascinated by those who are the best, the closest to perfect. We are fascinated by the perfect athletes, the perfect models, the perfect leaders, perfect geniuses. But the reality is that these people are far from perfect. they may be close in one area of life, but even they had to endure a huge amount of imperfection for a long time before they became the best.
I look at athletes as an example. Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player in history. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player in history. These two men certainly didn’t start out as perfect, and they had many bad games throughout their career. Some people would say that they were ‘naturals,’ that they had some inborn talent that is purely unreachable. But that’s a load of baloney.
I hat the term ‘natural.’ It’s a disservice to those people who put in hours upon hours of hard work to become the best. Michael Jordan was born to be tall, no doubt. Wayne Gretzky was born in the hockey-centric corridor of southern Ontario in hockey-crazy Canada. These are advantages of birth to be sure, but there is no way that said Michael Jordan became great at basketball because he was tall, or that Wayne Gretzky became a great hockey player because of where he was born. Jordan could have become an accountant, and Gretzky could have become a winemaker (oh right he did that too).
There may be hundreds of people with the same genetic predispositions as these two athletes, and probably a few hundred more with better genes. But they don’t become the best, because they don’t work as hard as these men did. This is the difference, the essence of a champion, an expert, a leader, a master. Hard work and endless persistence.
There is no perfect, but if there was, it would be such a tragedy. Imagine, working so hard for years and years to become the best, only to reach the very top and know that no matter how hard you work you can not surpass this level. That would be pure torture for someone who has given persistent effort.
This lack of perfection and lack of natural talent also means that anyone can be great, at anything! It gives hope to everyone because you learn that the only secret to great success is great effort. Know that you have a shot, even if it does take incredible effort. That sounds like a pretty perfect situation to me.