Perfect is the enemy of good…


“If I can not do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” Martin Luther King Jnr.

Bear with me on this one.

Our culture places high value on polished excellence. We are schooled to laud our would-be-celebrity-achievers; singers who shine through the harsh (if manufactured) glare of TV trials, sports men and women who dedicate their lives to their pursuit of victory.

Along the way, there is indeed a love of a glorious failure, but this depends still on almost reaching the top.

But the fact is that few of us will ever reach extraordinary heights in any given pursuit- that it why such achievements are called extra-ordinary. Despite what we are sold as some kind of democratisation of celebrity , most of us are (and will always be) different shades and hues of ordinary.

What happens when the gap between our achievement and our aspiration (no matter how unrealistic) yawns wide?

I suppose most creative types live in and around this feeling- it is hard to ever feel fully satisfied with what we produce. Insecurity and frustration usually live alongside all the highs and acclamations.

But those of us who live in the ordinary – who make art, music, sport, etc out of base metal – faced with the obvious imperfections of what we make, the temptation is simply to give up. Then all that is left is to experience life vicariously through some kind of media interpreted version of creativity.

Perfection of this kind is shiny plastic. It is unachievable and often irrelevant to real things, real relationships and the mess of real life. It serves as distraction only.

There are other kinds of creativity that capture much more of who we really are. They tend to be shared in small spaces and to have little or no monetary value. Words will be miss-spelled, chords may be duff, the fine brush strokes of a hand will blur slightly. This art emerges from the ordinary- but is no less transcendent.

To strive to be better, to go deeper, further, higher- these are good things, but we can choke on fine food- we also need cabbage and brown bread.

Let the mirage of perfection never steal from us the beauty of what is good.

2 thoughts on “Perfect is the enemy of good…

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