Good Intentions Unrealized | The Dangers of the Quest for Perfection

In the last week or so, it seems that I’ve read several posts tackling the subject of good versus perfect.  Posts discussing whether one should be happy with “good enough,” post suggesting that perfection is the enemy of the good.  I would never profess to being a perfectionist.  I will never have the perfect house, the perfect hair, or perfect children, and I am fine with that.  Yet, I find myself with good ideas and good intentions that are put off waiting for everything to be “just right.”  I want to send a note to someone to let them know that I’m thinking about them, but I can’t seem to find the right words.  I’d love to have someone over for dinner, but I worry that it will be one of those nights where something comes up and Clay has to stay at the office later than he intends. I want to get a gift for someone, but I can’t find just the thing that shows them how special they are to me.  And so I put it off so long that the good intention is forgotten, the good deed remains undone, the special people remain untouched.

The same principle applies to our health.  It’s so easy to put off scheduling a routine appointment waiting for the “perfect time.”  (Spoiler alert: there is never a perfect time for anything!) Whenever I can, I try to schedule next year’s checkup as I check out from this year’s appointment.  My mind works the same way for more acute issues, too.  I lose a lot of momentum as time passes. A lump is a lot more scary the first time my finger runs across it. While I’m busy trying to find the “right time” to make an appointment, I begin to convince myself that it was always there or isn’t really that big of a deal.

I know in my heart that it doesn’t make sense to wait for the time to be just right, for my house to be perfectly clean.  Yet my actions don’t always show that.  And so my challenge to myself is to act when my momentum is high.  If I think I should write a note, I should sit down and write it right then.  When it crosses my mind to schedule an appointment, I need to just do it.  If I can’t work it out, I can always change it. I need to stop letting my quest for perfection, even if it’s a subconscious quest, ruin all the good things that I could be doing.

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