Excellence vs. Perfectionism

Last week in her blog, Mrs. McIlvoy spoke about excellence and having the integrity that pushes you to be your best by not allowing yourself to lower your standard of excellence when you think no one is looking. I want to speak a little about the other side of excellence, when it becomes perfectionism.

Anyone have a child who is a perfectionist? They are not happy if one little thing is out of place on their paper, the dinner table, their clothes, and the list goes on. It is so important to teach our children the difference between being excellence and being perfect.

When you aim for excellence you are motivated to do your best but when you strive for perfection, it is demoralizing because no one on earth has ever been perfect except Jesus.  It is an unattainable goal. God created us. He knows our limitations. If we were perfect, we would not need to rely on Him, we could do it all by ourselves.

In an article by Marc Winn, entitled Perfectionism vs. Excellence he states, “Perfectionism is focused on “doing the thing ‘right’”, how things APPEAR, and if OTHERS think it’s done right. Excellence is about “doing the right thing”. It is focused on the REASON for a task, and the RESULTS for it to be a success. Perfectionism is a thief of time, draining your energy like a blood-sucking vampire. It bullies and criticises you, and demands unachievable outcomes – since whatever you do is never good enough. It makes you try to live up to some illusion that doesn’t exist. Perfection is always out of reach. The pursuit of excellence keeps you focused on what matters, fills you with energy and can act as your cheerleader. There is no damage to self-esteem, like that found in perfectionism. Perfectionism diminishes your productivity, your efficiency and effectiveness, and worse still, damages your peace of heart and mind. On the other side, productivity is built into the pursuit of excellence.”

We are to pursue Excellence, not Perfection in all aspects of our lives
PERFECTION is a fear of mistakes. . .
EXCELLENCE sees opportunities for improvement.
PERFECTION is setting unreasonable standards well beyond reach. . .
EXCELLENCE is setting high and perhaps difficult to attain, but attainable standards.
PERFECTION is anger and frustration. . .
EXCELLENCE is powerful.
PERFECTION is pressure. . .
EXCELLENCE is confidence
PERFECTION is a destination. . .
EXCELLENCE is a journey.

We all have good days and bad days on this journey of excellence. It’s comforting to know that the author of perfection only expects excellence from us….rest in that.

Becky Ross
Primary Education Principal
Logos Preparatory Academy

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