How important is perfection?

Are you a perfectionist? If so, in what areas?

I think it would be difficult to be a perfectionist in everything, indeed, in anything.

I have never considered myself to be a perfectionist, though others have occasionally labelled my attitude to work that way. I do have certain standards that I like to meet, and I always strive to attain them, to do the best I can. I concede that my expectations of spelling, grammar and punctuation correction may tend towards perfection, but if I can, why would I not? Of course, the occasional imperfection will slip through. It is difficult to catch all when we are editing and proofing our own work. However, if I spot any, I will quickly change them, embarrassed that I let them escape.

There are many areas in which I am far from a perfectionist – especially housework. I’ll do what needs to be done, but only if I must; and my idea of need may differ vastly from yours. I am often reminded of my mother’s words when I’d completed a household chore; for example, sweep the steps, when I was a child. She’d comment that I’d given it a “lick and a promise”. These days, housework rarely gets more than a promise, a promise I’m not good at keeping.

As a teacher of young children, it was not perfection I was looking for in their work, but for the best they could do. I expected their work to reflect their development. If they were capable of the calculation, spelling or of using the correct punctuation, I expected them to use it. Opportunities to revise answers and responses were given and improvement was encouraged.

I’ve hedged around this topic a few times in posts; such as, Is contentment compatible with a growth mindset? The end, Phrasing praise and What is failure.

But how do we decide when good enough is good enough and that we have put in as much effort as the task requires? I know there are many who agree with me about housework, but what about other things; maybe like, hanging a picture, following a recipe, parking a car, making a payment, checking copyright, or painting a room?

I recently watched a TED Talk by Jon Bowers entitled We should aim for perfection and stop fearing failure. Bowers provides some different perspectives on the topic of perfectionism, challenging an adjustment to thinking.

He begins by discussing typos. We’ve all made them, haven’t we? The seemingly innocuous typo can give us a good laugh at times. But it can also do a lot of damage.

Bowers tells us that “one little typo on Amazon’s supercode produced a massive internet slowdown that cost the company over 160 million dollars in the span of just four hours”, and “an employee at the New England Compound, which is a pharmaceutical manufacturer, didn’t clean a lab properly and now 76 people have died and 700 more have contracted meningitis.”

Bowers says,

“When did we come to live in a world where these types of typos, common errors, this do-your-best attitude or just good enough was acceptable? At some point, we’ve stopped valuing perfection, and now, these are the type of results that we get. You see, I think that we should all seek perfection, all the time, and I think we need to get to it quick.”

traffic

He talks about the need for perfection when behind the wheel of a vehicle. How many lives are lost daily through inattention, through lack of perfection?

credit card

He talks about the need for credit card manufacturers to demand perfection. How would it be if even 1% of our credit cards didn’t work properly?

book

He says that “if the Webster’s Dictionary was only 99.9 percent accurate, it would have 470 misspelled words in it.  If our doctors were only 99.9 percent correct, then every year, 4,453,000 prescriptions would be written incorrectly, and probably even scarier, 11 newborns would be given to the wrong parents every day in the United States.”

He goes on to make many other statements that I’m sure will get you thinking too. At less than 11 minutes in length, the time commitment is far less than the potential learning gain.

When I watched this video, I was contemplating my response to this week’s flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Charli shared a “possibly spam” email received as an entry into the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest #2: Little and Laugh. You can read the email in Charli’s post, which also includes the challenge to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a fictional story about The Real Nanjo Castille. (The spammer).

I thought the email to be a little too clever to be real spam, too many clever word choices, phonetic spellings, and our favourite: bitchcoin, that could be purchased for ten dollars, $20 or £20. And the poor writer has an identity crisis, not sure whether to spell his or her name Nanjo or Najno.

I wondered about how the performance of this child in school might be viewed and what profession might be suggested as a goal.

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

A job for Nanjo?

The parents waited.

Start positive, she reminded herself.

“Nanjo has a wonderful imagination.”

They smiled.

“Very creative too, especially with spelling and punctuation.”

They exhaled.

“Has trouble understanding money though, and his knowledge of number facts is non-existent – “ she hesitated, then continued quietly. “I can’t think of any employer who’d have him.”

“Pardon?”

“I mean, employment, suited to his – ah – special skills.”

She cracked.

“I’m sorry. Your son is unemployable. His spelling and grammar is atrocious. He can’t even spell his own name, for god’s sake! I don’t think he could even get a job as a spammer!”

Make sure to check the results of Contest #2 at the Carrot Ranch. I’m not the winner. Nor is it Nanjo. Could it be you?

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

65 thoughts on “How important is perfection?

  1. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    Love this, Norah – and I nodded my head all the way through your explanation of the topic (especially your views on housework LOL to t-totally shared here, btw). Perfectionism is a form of black and white thinking that I explore as well and, for the most part (and in most arenas), I know it doesn’t’ serve us — brain-based.

    I also share your feelings about grammar and word usage, however – my father was a “grammar Nazi” so I cringe whenever I find an unintentional oops on one of my pages (I go back to edit, even!) – and have to bite my tongue to keep from correcting a few folks I know who “murder the King’s English.”

    LOVE THIS: “I expected their work to reflect their development. If they were capable of the calculation, spelling or of using the correct punctuation, I expected them to use it.” Exactly! We all need to cultivate “if we can, why wouldn’t we?” thinking — without shutting ourselves down with unrealistic expectations.

    I distinguish between “perfectionism” and rigor, btw – very different things.

    As for Nanjo – how horrid to levy the failure indictment on ANY individual. The motto at the top of my site says it all for me: “You can’t let what you can’t do determine what you CAN!” I so admire what you do.

    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

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    1. Norah Post author

      Madelyn, thank you for the richness and wisdom of your response. I’ll be checking out your post about the black and white thinking that is perfectionism. I’ve much yet to explore and learn from your website.
      We are definitely on the same page about grammar and word usage. Though I don’t like to cast aspersions on anyone else’s use, heaven forbid I’m not perfect, but I’m not real keen on seeing multiple errors that a little editing would have righted. I guess that’s the “rigor” you refer to.
      I very much admire the motto you have at the top of your site: “You can’t let what you can’t do determine what you CAN!” I noticed it on my first visit and realised I’d met someone of like mind. It’s a very empowering statement; and I agree, “It takes a village to educate a world!” We are both contributing towards that.
      Thank you for your inspiration.

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      1. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

        I’m not sure where this comment has been hiding. I saw it earlier, thought I had responded since I couldn’t find it again, and now it just popped up in my comment feed. (Some days WordPress leaves me dazed and flummoxed).

        We certainly seem to have a great deal in common. I’m not sure if it’s good news or bad news that we don’t live next door to one another. We’d no doubt have a ball, but I’m not sure if we’d get much done. 🙂 In any case, I’m glowing after reading this comment. Thank you SOOOOO much!
        xx,
        mgh

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  2. Hugh's Views and News

    What a thought-proking post, Norah. It got me thinking about how there are certain things I do because I think I’m a perfectionist at them. For example, I tell guests staying with us that I’ll clear the table and clean up the kitchen after a meal. However, it’s not that I’m being polite and think that guests staying with us should not have to do those kinds of jobs, but because I think they could not do it as well as I do. Not a very nice thought, and thank goodness none of the guests know what I really mean. When it comes to certain tasks, I think we all think we could do a better job than the next person, but I’ve been proved wrong on a few occasions. Yet, I still insist on doing those jobs. It’s as if it’s embedded in my genes.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for adding your thoughts to the conversation, Hugh. It’s nice to know where your perfectionism lies. I guess we all have our ways of doing things, don’t we, and it can sometimes be difficult to accept that another has a different way of achieving the same goal. Can’t they see that our way is much more efficient? 🙂

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  3. dgkaye

    Loved this thought provoking post Norah. I think it’s great that we strive for perfection, and certainly there are just some things in life that require absolute perfection such as: credit card privacy info, dictionaries being 100% correct and driving as a competent driver. But some things in life will have human error like those typos that escape our fingers sometimes. That’s where we can always improve on our editing tactics, but although we may cringe when we spot one we’ve left behind somewhere, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up but learn from them. Sometimes haste does make waste. 🙂 x

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for adding your wisdom to the conversation, Debby. That’s a good point you make – about learning from errors rather than beating ourselves up. A little less haste and a little more care will eliminate quite a few errors, I think, in our writing as well as on the road. 🙂

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  4. Christy B

    I remember striving for perfection in my school assignments! Many years later I realized perfection is an illusion. Your reminders here will help both those who are learning and those who are teaching, Norah xx

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    1. Norah Post author

      I always wanted to do my best in school and get the good grades too, Christy, but I rarely achieved the highest grades, except in English, and had to work very hard to do as well as I did. I hope the reminders and the discussion are helpful, Christy.

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  5. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    Benjamin Franklin devised a plan through which he intended to achieve moral perfection. He worked his way systematically through a set of thirteen moral virtues, taking care to carry his success with each into his efforts with the next. After a time, Franklin realized that he had not – and likely never would – attain moral perfection. But for his efforts he had significantly improved himself and his habits. He decided that was still an enormous success. It is the effort we put into self betterment that makes the difference, the desire to achieve and to improve, rather than the final outcome of perfection. We are all, after all, only human and are bound to fall short of perfection. We are, very simply, flawed creatures – even in our perfection. This definitely offers lots of room for thought and discussion. Love it.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing your wisdom, Lisa. I really appreciate this thought: “It is the effort we put into self betterment that makes the difference, the desire to achieve and to improve, rather than the final outcome of perfection.” Now improvement I can cope with, perfection not so much. I am definitely flawed and far from perfect. 🙂

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  6. Charli Mills

    Such a thought-provoking post, Norah. I’ve bookmarked the TedTalk and want to hear it out. I agree that we should try to do our best because that’s what self-actualization is about — expressing our fullest potential. As writers, I think we are all striving to be masters of the craft. But in our reaching for perfection, we will not be perfect. We have to be okay with failure. We learn from it, and we differentiate between what we do well and what we don’t. And no shame! I think shame is at the root of perfection. If instead, we replace avoidance of shame with a desire to be precise in our work because it requires safety or creativity, then perfectionism doesn’t seem so bad.

    Oh, poor Nanjo! Can’t even be a spammer. Well, he’s overcoming the doubters of his early years, then. Clever flash, Norah!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Charli. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. I think it’s interesting to share ideas and thoughts on different topics, even different ways of thinking about aspects of a topic. As Geoff said, it’s difficult to generalise and make a “rule” that fits every situation. There is at least one exception to every rule.
      I like what you said about replacing “avoidance of shame with a desire to be precise in our work” and making perfectionism less of a monster, and more an ally to befriend (my interpretation).
      Thank you for reading the intended meaning of my flash. So many of those deemed incapable of success later proved their teachers wrong. Why not Nanjo?

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        1. Norah Post author

          Oh, you’re too sweet. But thank you. It’s funny how we’re quick to pick out our own flaws but praise the strengths of others. I would love to have been that teacher you think I was. 🙂

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  7. robbiesinspiration

    Most interesting, Norah. I am a complete perfectionist in everything except my writing. With my writing I have learned to accept a 95% plus perfect attitude or I would never stop editing and changing photographs and I would never publish anything. In my job, there is little room for error so attention to detail is imperative.

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    1. Norah Post author

      We’d go crazy if we had to be perfect in everything, wouldn’t we? I guess I just accept I’m less than perfect in everything, then I have to do no more than my best. 🙂

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  8. Tina Frisco

    I think of it this way, Norah: there’s a difference between perfectionism and obsession. Striving for perfection is, in my opinion, aspiring to reach our highest level of achievement. And that’s a good thing. Obsessing along the way only slows us down, obscures our goal, and drives us crazy! 🙂 ❤

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      1. Norah Post author

        Tina did well with her explanation. I think seeing perfectionism as striving for our highest achievement, the best we can do, is an excellent way of looking at it. As long as we don’t obsess and know when we’ve done our best.

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  9. TanGental

    Another thoughtful and provoking post. I spent many years trying to make fallible lawyers stop beating themselves up over mistakes, not to give them licence to fail but to free them up from a debilitating statis that comes from the fear they might. We make mistakes period. We need to recognise the individual and not the generality. Anne makes her socialist point about hard working low paid employees and lazy rich spongers but at every level there are the dedicated and the deceitful and there are no simple generalities. So of course there are jobs where a failure is more devastating than others and we should try to avoid them all. But your housework and my typos aren’t important to anyone but us; we need to recognise that the need for perfection is really outcome-based and focus accordingly and when someone slips up, however devastating the consequence have some humanity in appreciating their plight too.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I love this final statement of yours, Geoff, “when someone slips up, however devastating the consequence have some humanity in appreciating their plight too.” That is very true. Last week a mother, dropping her child off at school, drove into a classroom killing two children and injuring many more. The father of one of the boys who was killed showed compassion for the driver and forgave her. I think that shows amazing strength and humanity. I would find it difficult to forgive, at least that quickly. While mistakes happen, some are more tragic than others, and many could be prevented by more care. But, it could happen to any of us. We are all just milliseconds away from disaster on the road and do need to take the responsibility seriously. But a typo here and a bit of dust there – yep, it generally does no harm, until it does. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your perspectives. I agree that we all need to recognise that we are flawed and make mistakes, and learn to not beat ourselves up over them. Most are reparable.

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  10. julespaige

    I agree with the Contented Crafter… My hubby actually has a book that goes into great detail of why some spam still works because they are weeding out the intelligent people. They don’t need everyone to reply. Just those few that will believe that a US Solider was left stranded in a foreign country (which would never happen) to evoke sympathy and gain access to credit information. Like the IRS sending emails or making phone calls – also would never happen. The IRS would send a registered letter and has stated so on the news programs almost every month.

    In the States we are now warned not to even answer our phones with our family names. I was taught to say; This is the Smith residence. How can I help you? Now I just pick up and wait for the caller to say something. With caller ID now I only answer the land line phone when I know who the caller is – all the rest get filtered through my answering machine. But you can’t do that if you only have a cell phone. Though with my cell, if I don’t recognize the number I don’t pick it up at all. And if your caller asks “Can you hear me?” – you are warned not to say “Yes” since they can manipulate your recorded yes and then process a transaction to send you something you did not order.

    At least with most or all computer spam all you have to do – and without even opening the mail – is to delete the offender. Even if it is someone I know and all they have sent me is a link – like to kittens falling off a couch – I don’t open it because it could contain a virus. Perhaps having a husband with a computer background is a good thing – as we probably have more protection than most. I personally do not even like to visit blog sites that have cookies.

    The other day I was invited by a local grocer to get bargains and discounts if I allowed their system to monitor via cookies my preferences. I declined. I am probably one of the few people left paying for most things by actual cash money.

    There is something to be said for certain professions to be as accurate as humanly possible. But a child often needs to make some mistakes in order to learn a lesson. I could go on… but I’ve probably taken up too much space already. So feel free to edit. 😉

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    1. Norah Post author

      Jules, thank you so much for adding your experiences and wisdom to the post. Why would I edit? It all makes perfect sense to me. 🙂
      We have stopped answering our landline too. It is good to have the caller identified on mobile phones. I don’t answer any private numbers there either. If they want me they can leave a message.
      It’s good advice to not click through to links. I had a scary experience last night trying to download a file from a trusted source. I thought it had devoured my email, but fortunately it worked out okay.
      It’s good to not get tricked into giving your details away unnecessarily. I’m surprised sometimes by text messages I get from companies I’ve had nothing to do with. Obviously someone is selling the information on.
      You are fortunate to have a computer whiz in the family. It’s always helpful to have someone in the know. Thanks for helping us increase our knowledge.

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      1. julespaige

        In our area… any time you enter a contest of some sort… or get a magazine subscription you really do need to read the fine print – even if you stay at a resort hotel… – if they ask you for email to confirm a reservation. Then your email is out there to be sold. Especially after you sign on the dotted line so to speak. Bank by computer, have a store credit card – your information is shared automatically unless you read the fine print and say ‘NO’.

        Some companies say they will only share your information within their companies products – like banks, to mortgage lenders. And then when you reach a certain age – you get all the retirement information from hundreds of companies.

        Here you can get those store loyalty cards; for gas, groceries or department stores- and that is another place that will share your information without blinking an eye. So if you bought a dress one place now several other dress stores will be trying to send you adds to get your business. So you may have never shopped at a store where you are now getting a call, computer add or other service for.

        Once my hubby ordered a gift for me online and then got bombarded for adds to buy more. But some places do have opt-out options which are not always easy to find. About a year ago I went through my accounts and opted out of every source I wasn’t using.

        Even if you go to a festival and get a ticket for that new car, or enter some contest for a free vacation… bam!

        Once I had to go to for federal jury duty and had to stay at a hotel. And I am sure they shared or sold my info because I started getting ads and calls for vacation promotions, not only for them but other hotels as well.

        I actually had to write to a company to tell them that I didn’t want them to sell or share my info. But it is often hard to prove who did what. Once when I was getting some magazines I put on a fake apartment number to see where I was getting new adds from.

        Sometimes just old telephone directories are used. And of course now everything is on the computer. You can pretty much look up anyone you want and find out anything you want most for free but some for a fee. Which is why I use a nom-de-plume since I am not running a blog business. So it is even more of a joke when I get an add or spam in that account since that’s not a ‘real’ person.

        So pretty much any time you sign your name, give your phone number out – you are in someone’s system. Sad but true. Unless you are truly off the grid. You are going to get junk mail, calls and computer adds.

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          1. julespaige

            It would be so nice to win that house, or the new car or get a free vacation. But really it isn’t free. There are always taxes 😉

            Even when you sign up for what you do want – read the fine print! Once you sign that dotted line you could get more than you bargained for.

            Not sure how it is where you are – but my hubby still has a way to go before even thinking about retirement – and we for the last several years have been getting adds for ‘elderly’ products. Like that safely button you can wear, or what retirement community we should move to. And all those different places that want to manage our funds for us! We pretty much laugh, because if we didn’t laugh, we would cry. 🙂

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            1. Norah Post author

              I think there are plenty of reminders about ageing over here, too, but I tend to not take any notice of them. I’m not yet admitting that I’m “old”, though my granddaughter likes to remind me that I am. It gives us a good laugh. 🙂

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  11. Mabel Kwong

    This is such an eye-opening piece on perfection, Norah. On one hand, perfectionism can lead to stress but looking at the broad picture such as vehicles, you do need perfection to reduce the loss of life. Fascinating binaries. The short story at the end was also lovely to read. Sometimes parts of society can be so judgemental, and your words highlight discrimination surrounding those of us who are different in visible ways from the majority around us. In that sense, someone can never be perfect – and you know, all of us should start realising we are not perfect either.

    I am like you. I strive towards achievements. I do push myself and try to get things done on time and done right, but there are times when it just doesn’t happen. I always have to remind myself what is perfect to someone is not perfect to another person.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for joining in and sharing your perspective on the topic, Mabel. There is no perfect interpretation to perfectionism, is there? I agree that what is perfect for one may not be perfect for another, and that none of us are perfect so should be very slow to throw stones.
      I’m pleased you pointed out the discrimination in my story. It wasn’t my intention to focus on discrimination, but can see that it is there.
      As long as we keep striving to do our best, without creating too much stress for ourselves, I guess we’re okay, eh?

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  12. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    A lot to think about here Norah. As you know I am old school growing up with perhaps not enough praise for those things well done and certainly no praise for mediocrity. I don’t know that this was good but I also don’t think that telling a child everything they do is well done is good either. I think it takes away the drive for perfectionism and although hardly anything I do is perfect I selectively aim to be perfect in facets I consider important. I also agree with contented crafter above that grading is not always the best way of doing things if it means that a child that has worked their heart out ends up failing.
    As for your flash – wonderful. It must be so hard as teacher to keep a straight face at times and put a positive spin on everything – that she cracked up and told the truth I thought perfect.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on perfectionism, Irene. There can be a lot of difference between what we consider acceptable, our best and perfect. Sometimes what I consider acceptable is definitely less than my best or perfect, but the effort required would not be matched by the reward. It’s a decision we must always make. Parking a car doesn’t always need to be perfect, but it needs to be pretty good to not cause inconvenience or damage.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash. I can’t say I’ve ever responded in that way about a student. But then, I’ve never taught a Nanjo! 🙂

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        1. Norah Post author

          I am actually saddened when students are told something similar. So many of our creative artists and innovators were told by teachers that they’d never amount to anything. Fortunately for those ones, the teachers were proven wrong. But for many others, I’m sure the teacher’s words rang true, like the Pygmalion effect.

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  13. Susan Scott

    Interesting …. some things need to be perfect as you illustrate so well – pharmaceutical scripts et al. Spelling & punctuation needs to be 100 % correct before the slippery slope becomes a free fall. I don’t follow recipes; I know those who do to the ‘t’ with great and perfect results and they have my admiration 🙂 Loved your flash thanks Norah!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Susan. Yes, there’s a time and place for as close as we can get to perfection, isn’t there? Mistakes are a necessary part of life, but can sometimes have tragic and irreparable consequences. I was pleased to have my thinking challenged a little.

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      1. Susan Scott

        Yes, and also I think we’re somewhat beholden as ‘role models’ in whatever field, to encourage the student to always aim for the best – use their potential to the fullest – yes it is a challenging post. 😀

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        1. Norah Post author

          I agree, Susan. It would seem wrong to accept “sloppy” work from students and not encourage them to improve and do their best. Their best may not equal 100% on a test though. That may just mean the test was too easy and they require an even greater challenge. Oh, it’s not easy being a teacher, is it?

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  14. Annecdotist

    Interesting post, Norah. I like your notion of expecting the child to produce the correct spelling, punctuation etc if they are capable of doing so but not making too much fuss if they are not. It seems so obvious but not all children receive such sensible input from either parents or teachers.
    I’m afraid I’ve consumed your post imperfectly, not making time for the video, but I actually found your quotes irritating. High standards matter more in some areas than others (and I’m with you on housework) and, given that humans are particularly fallible, there should be checks and balances built into systems in order to reduce the margin of error, rather than pressurising people to be perfect. Likewise if employees are contenting themselves with good enough, then perhaps management needs to consider how to incentivise them to do better. Perhaps valuing their contribution might go some way towards this.
    Sorry, didn’t mean to get into a rant! Great flash – poor Nanjo, no wonder he tries to infiltrate the ranch.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Anne. I’m interested that you found the quotes irritating and inspired a rant. Mistakes do happen, it’s true, and it’s also true that none of us are perfect. Jon’s work role is to train delivery drivers. I must admit I found his hardline on perfection for his drivers a little irritating too, but I could see the point when people’s lives, and livelihoods are at stake. Sometimes I don’t think we take enough care. Australians are notorious for a “she’ll be right, mate” attitude. I’m not sure that’s it’s as common now as it was just a few decades ago, though. Just last week a woman drove her car into a classroom killing two eight-year old students and injuring many more students and teachers. I didn’t hear the full story but I think she was reaching for bottle of water and put her foot on the accelerator rather than the brake. Such a tragic accident (?), and one I’m pleased I wasn’t responsible for. I came close to hitting a cyclist a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately we both stopped just in time with about 30 cm to spare. It could happen to anyone at any time. We do need to be vigilant.
      I agree with you that employees do need to be valued and they do need to be incentivised to do their best, and checks do need to be in place. But employees also need to have a sense of responsibility to the public and the importance of their role as well and not cut corners that might have disastrous repercussions. Can be difficult to maintain sometimes, especially when the extrinsic validation is non-existent.

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      1. Annecdotist

        I do agree with you about driving, we tend to see it as a right rather than a privilege and don’t always take sufficient care. I was once knocked off my bike and can only be grateful the driver responsible wasn’t going very fast.
        But I hate the ultra-capitalist assumption that people actually don’t want to do a good job. I’m always moved by people in lowly positions, like office cleaners and refuse collectors, who are conscientious about their work even though they’re not particularly rewarded for it. On the other hand, we have people who contribute very little to society earning megabucks which is extremely demotivating for those who work just as hard for less.
        I wonder if Jon gets results from his drivers by emphasising the importance of their staying alert etc. It might be motivating for them to have their skill and responsibility acknowledged from the outside, rather than it feeling like the job isn’t all that important.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks for coming back to add further thoughts, Anne. I’m pleased you were okay when knocked from your bike. Not a pleasant experience, I am sure.
          I agree with your second paragraph – totally. We pay some people way too much. I guess I’m a bit socialist in thinking there should be a cap on income. I can’t see why entertainers and CEOs should earn the big bucks that they do. I know there are many philanthropists in there, but I think it would be better to spread the earnings around. The health of our society is dependent upon cleaners and refuse collectors doing a good job. Their role is more essential than many highly-paid roles. The fact that many of us don’t envy their jobs, means that they should be paid even more.
          It would be interesting to hear the response from Jon’s drivers. I hope they do feel that doing a good job is valued.

          Liked by 2 people

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  15. LucciaGray

    Hilarious flash! Loved it. Poor parents and child, but you and I know his creativity will pull him through in the end.
    I loved your post. Perfection is usually subjective and often impossible and yet sometimes lack of it can cause severe harm, as you point out. As always in life we need the common sense to figure out what’s vital, important or transient… I’ll check out the ted talk. Have a lovely day♥️

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Luccia. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post and the flash. I believe there is a place for everyone in this world. We just need to find and acknowledge it.
      I hope you enjoy the TED talk. I love to have my thinking challenged and expanded. Of course, I agree with what Jon said, but sometimes I tend to think more narrowly about some issues. It’s good to think wider. 🙂

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  16. thecontentedcrafter

    Perfect Norah, your 99 words this week – you picked up on the imperfections neatly. The last paragraph made me chuckle! I did hear somewhere that real spammers deliberately create their letters with spelling and grammar mistakes to whittle out the ‘educated folks’ who wouldn’t get sucked in anyway, thereby not wasting their time on interactions that will eventually render no bank account numbers. Have you heard this?

    As to whether or not I am a perfectionist – I’m not sure. I do believe in doing my best always, Some days my best is a little less effective than other days, but I do the best I can. As a teacher I expected that from my students also and grading was always a personal conversation between me and any student with me evaluating what had been really learned and understood and, where necessary, comparison made to their previous work. I’m not a fan of cross classroom grading – there can only be one ‘first’ and this means that someone has to be ‘last’. Sometimes the kid who finds academia easy puts in little time and effort to reap all the glory while the student who sweats and strains and puts in hours is told they ‘failed’. Not good!!

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      What an interesting idea about spammers making just a few mistakes to weed out the intelligent and less like to be sucked in folk. I hadn’t heard that before. Clever!
      I agree with everything you’ve said about school, encouraging children to do their best, and the horrors of “first” and “last”. This is made even more tragic by the narrow band of what is “valued” by the testing regime.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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