On Dealing with the Imperfect

“Nobody’s perfect.”

– Some Like It Hot

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Have you ever heard the term “perfectionist”?

This is a word to describe someone who cannot accept the imperfect and, as a result, often think that it’s better doing nothing than doing something imperfect.

Being imperfect and having flaws are human nature, and your life would be much better off by knowing how to cope with imperfection.

Why Coping with Perfectionism Matter?

You’d waste quite a chunk of your time by pursuing the perfect.

Remember, you won’t achieve perfection with a single try, no matter how hard you do.

What’s more important is constantly moving towards goals with iterations.

You might have experience in pondering and procrastinating all the time without much get done.

To achieve more with less, leave your perfectionism for the time being and prioritize actions.

Are You a Perfectionist?

Everyone has things they care about and not – in this regard, you’re a perfectionist too.

But it’s not black and white or “I’m 100% perfectionist” vs “I don’t care at all” It’s more like a bell curve.

You may care about how your Instagram post looks so much, but not pay attention to how clean your desk is.

So define your perfectionism and identify where you are spending too much time on it.

Knowing yourself about where you cannot stand with something faulty is a great first step.

Dealing with the Imperfect

There are two ways I recommend to deal with perfectionism.

The first one is called exposure. [1]

With this technique, you deliberately stop performing any activity you’d normally do towards perfection. (for example, endlessly working on things that improve your work tiny bit.)

This is unpleasant at first, but gradually you feel better by seeing your overall productivity increases.

The second one is to stop comparing yourself with others. Setting your standard of “enough” based on others is absurd.

Many beginners feel miserable by comparing their work with the pros, but no worries, they were beginners at first, too.

“Every artist was first an amateur.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Learn to laugh at your flaws and just accept them.


“How do I draw the line between getting high-quality and chasing unnecessary perfection?”

Pursuing higher quality is good and in many ways it’s necessary to deliver great work.

But it doesn’t have to mean that you have to be an obsessed perfectionist.

There’s a Japanese philosophy called Wabi-Sabi that celebrates the imperfect along with calmness.

This doesn’t mean Wabi-Sabi encourages lower quality materials. Rather it focuses on perspectives over materials.

Nothing is permanent and get satisfied, ever (thus nothing is perfect).

So instead of pursing the impossible, we can change our mindset and see beauty from things that are not perfect.


I like imperfection. It doesn’t mean ugly. I love a girl with a gap between her teeth, versus perfect white veneers. Perfection is just… boring. Perfect is what’s natural or real; that is beauty.

Marc Jacobs


[1] https://beyondocd.org/expert-perspectives/articles/the-search-for-imperfection-strategies-for-coping-with-the-need-to-be-perfe

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