The Pursuit of Perfection


Photo taken by Brian Baer sabeephotos@sacbee.com

Photo taken by Brian Baer sabeephotos@sacbee.com

We all have are flaws, flops and failures on our journey to a personally desired result. Those desired results are usually a goal or dream that represent a better person or personal improvement in an area where we often see ourselves falling short.  I call this struggle of a journey the pursuit of perfection. Not that I’m trying to claim perfection or mastery of anything in my lifetime, but that I learn to submit myself and enjoy the process of being perfected.

To be perfect can be an unrealistic burden. It is the state of being entirely without fault or defect, satisfying all requirements and lacking in no essential detail. It is an unfair standard that can be deceiving and delusional if we think the pursuit of perfection does not include challenges, conflict,  obstacles and set backs. It is this kind of thinking that distracts and derails us and causes us to give up on obtainable desires deep within our heart.

I’ve learned a lot about the pursuit of perfection this year from my son’s high school football team. This last weekend they clinched their second consecutive section championship with a “perfect” record of 14-0. It has been a record breaking season for the team and though they are undefeated a perfect season did not come without blemish. I wanted to give you 3 principles that I have really stood out to me this year watching the Folsom Bulldogs that has inspired me press into the process of being perfected.

1) Perfection Requires Community - A couple weeks ago the Co-Head Coach, Kris Richardson made a statement that caught my attention. He said, “When you are used to winning and as long as you keep working hard while you are winning, you get buy-in from the kids and the parents. We’ve got a good thing going.” Perfection can only be accomplished in the context of community! If you break down the word community you will find the first principle for your pursuit. You must have a common unity on your way to becoming perfected. For the football team the common unity is a not just getting a win, but creating a culture where everybody wins. That includes players, coaches, parents and spectators. Common unity creates and captivates a community to focus on a desired goal and achieve it together. 

2) Perfection Requires Validity of Every Person- This football team is loaded with talent and even some superstars, but you would never know it because players practice the principle of deference. Deference is a way of behaving that shows respect for someone or something. This team has both.  I have noticed that this team is not about one person, but they defer to other players and believe in the process. If the quarterback has a great game it was because of the offensive line, if the coaches are brilliant it’s because they have intelligent players, if the defense has a shutout it’s because they believed in the process. When you value others you take the pressure off your pursuit.  Deferring recognizes you are not carrying the burden of being perfect by yourself and it invites and encourages others to carry the cause with you!

3. Perfection Requires Teachability – You never arrive at PERFECT (at least in our life on earth). There is always room for improvement and new things to learn. When we stop learning we stop improving.  Perfection is the act of making something better. A person who is teachable says, “I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I used to be!” The teachable person understands that it’s little acts of improvement that cause big impacts.  My son is constantly watching video of past performances, receiving and accepting constructive criticism, examining opponents game film and what blows my mind is he really doesn’t talk about his game stats at all. In fact he shrugs it off when I talk about his stats. The number one thing he talks about is his technique not his touchdowns. For him it doesn’t matter how much he scores but what matters is how he can improve to help his team: how he holds the ball, how he can improve his blocking and how he can better run his routes.  He wants to get better, so his team gets better.

Perfection is not a destination. It is a journey where our desires can be realized if we commit to understanding the process of perfection in our lives. It’s not about an individual, it’s about a community coming together with a common goal and a plan on how to get there. I hope this plan that I’ve seen at work in this team will help you in your pursuit!

Do you have a misconception of what it means to pursue perfection? Tell me about it!

If you liked this post and you would like to know what’s inspiring me in my pursuit I encourage you to leave a comment, ‘LIKE’ my Facebook page, or subscribe to this blog by submitting your email address for frequent encouragement!

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3 comments

  1. Wow Dean! Great post. All three points are pillars and you articulated them beautifully. I think #1 is very profound. There is a special refinement of our character that only happens within the context of a community, but, without that commitment to be part of something bigger than yourself, you never get the opportunity to reap the unique rewards that community offers.

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