The title of today’s newsletter, obviously, must be a rhetorical question.  Everyone knows that there is no such thing as perfection.  There are no perfect people, situations, or…. relationships.   We know this.  Or do we?

The psychologist, Albert Ellis, informs us that “we make ourselves unhappy by believing ideas that make no sense.”  He refers to these beliefs as irrational ideas.  We intellectually understand that perfection is not available, yet we often proceed as though it should be.  Why does my partner get cranky sometimes?  Why do my kids often make foolish decisions?  And why do I miss a two-foot putt?  The answer, obviously, is that all those individuals are human.  We know this, of course; yet we act as if we don’t.

The Australian author, Rhys Muldoon, wrote a book for children and parents with a wonderful title:  Perfect is the Enemy of Good

If Muldoon had written nothing beyond this works’ title, it still would have conveyed a very useful message.  The pursuit of perfection takes us down a road leading to a cliff.  In 1930, the golfer Bobbie Jones accomplished a feat that no other golfer has ever achieved.  Jones won the four major tournaments of golf in the same year.  It became known as the “Grand Slam.”  Jones became a successful attorney and the elder stateman of golf for decades.  He founded the iconic Masters golf tournament.

And yet, Boobie Jones was not always a respected and admirable persona.  As a young and obviously gifted golfer, he was also known for a volatile and explosive temper.  Young Jones threw clubs.  He broke them.  And, predictably, his chaotic mood swings led to a decline in his performance.  But Jones learned, and he changed.  When he learned to control his temper and accept that he couldn’t hit every shot perfectly, he went from good to great.  Commenting on his Grand Slam, Jones estimated that he played “prefect golf” for no more than a stretch of a few holes.  The rest of the rounds he played just “good enough to win.” 

The point is clear.  Recognizing the good things (and people) in our lives allows us to accept the imperfections in others (and ourselves).  As Ellis suggests, move away from the irrational search for perfect.  You’ll never find it.

They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you that practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.   — Wilt Chamberlain