Perfection is Boring

To the point where I’ve been told that seeing others make mistakes, lose their train of thought, forget words mid-speech or not do the ‘cleanest’ of jobs, has become some kind of fetish (yes, the exact word used).

I’ve also been told that I’m hot on the beauty of imperfections. To which I reply ‘I love them. Its what makes us human and not robots’. Which makes this an interesting topic of personal exploration. And through which I also hope that some of my readers will relate to or at least, gain some insight for yourselves.

Seeing others put themselves out there and make mistakes gives us permission to do the same. 

‘Developing the nerve to possess yourself’ – Katlego K Kolanyane-Kesupile

Over the years I’ve conquered many fears. Or at the very least, done a decent job of tackling them – I did the skydive. I’m still not a fan of heights. Public speaking still scares me. Therefore its next on the list. Naturally. And so, after 5+ weeks of procrastination I finally submitted Stage 1 of my application to speak at a TEDxLondon in future. Go big or go home right?

‘Connecting a billion minds’ – Shafi Ahmed

Many studies have famously cited public speaking as people’s No. 1 fear, above death. As a researcher I very much doubt that, though do believe its right up there.

‘The robot revolution – a survival guide for kids’ – Sophie Teen

Last weekend I attended my first TEDx event in London. Mainly for something new and fun to do, but also ‘for research purposes’. And of course to be inspired.

‘How will virtual reality impact health & wellbeing’ – Isabel Van De Keere

Hands down what I loved most (after the chocolate fountain, food and wine) were the ‘less than perfect moments’ of the talks themselves. Some of the highlights:

  1. After a longish pause: “I forgot what I was going to say next” – this one got a laugh. There really is nothing better than naming things!
  2. On jumping up on stage: “This is horrible” (when faced with us/the audience)
  3. “I’ve forgotten how to link these slides”
  4. “Oh I missed something” (goes back a slide to make a point).

To add to the above, I love when those I admire and respect make mistakes and acknowledge them publicly. It creates connection, respect and trust. Its real. Its vulnerable. Its human.

‘Creating aspiring women: the role of fathers in fighting patriarchy’ – Ayesha Siddique Khan

Perfectionism also delays action. It means that we miss out on opportunities. On valuable feedback and learning. Perfection is also subjective. You could spend hours and hours crafting something ‘perfect’. Only to have a critic rip it to shreds.

So don’t wait until things are perfect. Or ready. Jump off that cliff and build your wings on the way down. 

I learnt so much from the above speakers. I’m sure the rest of the audience got something useful out of it too. So the question is, what are you waiting for to be perfect in order to do?

P.S. That day will never come.


As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment/start a discussion below, or drop me a line via email.