Striving for Excellence, not Perfection

Welcome to Failing Perfect’s

Wednesday’s Wise Words to Live By

Week #10

Striving for perfection motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. Harriet Braiker

“Striving for excellence motivates you, striving for perfection is demoralizing.” -Harriet Braiker


 I Am a Perfectionist.

I am a perfectionist. What does that even mean? Well, I’ll tell you what that means to me. Being a perfectionist sucks. Why?

Perfection = An Unattainable Goal

Well, for starters, nobody is perfect. We are NOT meant to be perfect-not even close. 

Being a perfectionist is like living  in your own trap. It’s like trying to solve a riddle that was never meant to be solved. 

Perfection is impossible. It’s futile. It’s unattainable. It’s hopeless. I’ll never be perfect. I know that. I never claimed to even come close, yet I do get caught up in trying to get everything right. Not necessarily perfect, but right.

Why? I wish I knew the answer to that question.

Perfectionism = Overwhelming Anxiety

Attempting to do everything perfectly creates a great deal of anxiety. That fear of failure or rejection  affects how I approach a task. I want it to be done perfectly. 

It means I’m never satisfied with what I accomplish. Many times I do not accomplish anything because I’m worried that things will not turn out the way I want them t. So, what do I do? I procrastinate. 

Big mistake. That only leads to more anxiety. Now, I have less time to accomplish the task at hand. This leads to me starting a lot of new projects, but  finishing few. I procrastinate, or worse, redo things I’ve already spent a great deal of time working to finish.

Perfectionism Leads to a Lack of Confidence.

All of those unfinished projects pile up. All those failures stack up. The lack of follow-through creates a lack of confidence. I’ve even heard myself say, “It’ll never be good enough, so why even try?” “That’s messed up, now.” “It’s not the way I want it. I give up.” Like the quote says, “Striving for perfection is demoralizing.”

Perfectionism Consumes Too Much Energy.

I spend a ton of energy-especially mental energy- trying to get something perfect. Meanwhile, everything else in my life is spiraling out of control. My focus and attention can be narrow-minded and focused on the details of one project. This means I lose sight of the big picture.

My kitchen may be immaculately clean, but the rest of the house will look like a bulldozer just came through the place. 

Perfectionism = Need for Control

I am a perfectionist. To me, this is not about me trying to be perfect. I’ve learned that it’s about me trying to have control.

The problem is, I’m never really in control. 

I’m cannot control my environment. I cannot control other people. In reality, the only thing I can control is my response to my environment and other people.

This is a reality that, for me, I’m learning to accept.

Striving for Excellence

To me, excellence is the opposite of perfection.

Excellence  = An Attainable Goal

Excellence means being the best YOU you can be. It is an honorable goal. It is a process, but through that process, excellence can be reached.

Think about the best basketball player you know. For me, it’s Michael Jordan.

He is not perfect. He is not even a perfect ball player. But, in my opinion, he exemplifies excellence.

If he were perfect, he would have hit every basket he attempted. With practice (and some talent) you can become good-maybe even great-but you’ll never be perfect. But who cares if you are excellent?

Striving for Excellence = Faith

 Instead of the anxiety and worry a perfectionist feels, striving for excellence breeds faith and hope. To even want to strive for excellence you must have faith that you can achieve your objective. 

Striving for Excellence Leads to Confidence

When you strive for excellence it means you leave everything on the table. 

You can go to bed at night knowing that you did your best. Your best may not have been perfect, but you still gave it your all. That’s what matters at the end of the day.

It means not focusing on your failures but on your successes.

Your daily achievements build up. Your victories accumulate. You can feel good about yourself.

Striving for Excellence Creates Energy

Having a purpose to be the best YOU creates energy. It creates enthusiasm. When you have a purpose, you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to accomplish your goals. Like the quotes says, “Striving for excellence motivates you.”

Are you a perfectionist? Or are you more laid back? What does striving for excellence mean to you?



  1. 1


    Hi Michelle,

    Good points! Perfectionism is the fear of failure and criticism combined. Few are immune from these fears so it creeps in, and dominates their mind, unless they act now and get street smarts, breeding confidence. I’ve created 3300 blog posts on 1 blog alone. I hit the ground running and do not have a perfectionist bone in my body, thank God lol….and I’ve traveled the world for 3 years running, so it’s working for me.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Prosperity Consciousness Training: Try this Trick to Jump a Few Tax Brackets QuicklyMy Profile

  2. 3


    I strive for excellence, i am not a perfectionist.. I do however ask all my people to strive to be excellent also.. this makes for a very upbeat environment.

  3. 17

    Rebecca Swenor says

    I totally believe that to much perfection can lead to poor self esteem. That is really sad I think.

  4. 29


    This post was very easy to read. The “points” were straight forward. LOL I agree on your premise. I’ve come to be content to know I’m going to be a C student in physics and an A+ student in sociology! I saw a post on FB recently said (by a teacher, no less) something like “yup, went another day w.o using algebra!.” Excellence will be a natural inclination in our areas of strength. You’ve got this nailed!
    Meredith Elizabeth recently posted…Do you know who to blame?My Profile

  5. 31


    I thought some of your points were wonderful. We do consume ourselves with being what we think is perfect. Maybe because I am the mother of 3 daughters that I know my perfect was the day they were born. Watching them grow and bloom into the women they have become I have seen perfect and treasured it along the way. All the rest in life just falls into place :)
    Laura (Lauras Little House Tips) recently posted…California Delicious $50 Gift Card Giveaway Ends 5/31/14My Profile

  6. 32


    LOVE THIS! Every single point is so right on in my book! I definitely strive for excellence rather than perfection because like you said, “perfect” is unattainable and exhausting! When I do my best, I always feel proud of myself and ready to try more and do more instead of defeated and discouraged.

  7. 36

    Deb E says

    I always tried to be perfect growing up (with a demanding father) and sometimes you hear that voice in your head so any reminder is a welcome blessing. Praying for strength to do my best is good too.

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