I was recently involved in a Linkedin discussion with a young marketer/copywriter from Canada.
The issue was around the subject of perfection.
The post said his marketing/copywriting was so good, he could offer his clients perfect solutions, outcomes and revenues. I was intrigued.
So, I asked him a very reasonable question – what are the subjective success criteria for perfection as I would like those solutions, outcomes and revenues myself?
His first response was, to say the least, touchy and evasive. His definition was that ‘perfection should be self-evident’. I was struggling with that because I didn’t know what he was talking about. If somebody disagrees that it isn't self-evident, then it's not perfect already.
So, I just asked him the same question again, because this guy is offering the earth.
Second answer – still not cutting the mustard and the tone becoming quite offensive. I was told that I was trolling him and I was being offensive to this guy because we were in the same industry (that wasn't correct either). Then he said I was trying to be clever. (How dumb are the people he’s trying to convince?)
I offered him a scenario so that he could show us the power of his pen.
In 2017, the USA is politically divided, and the President was quite vocal on lots of contentious issues from China, North Korea and selections for the Supreme Court.
I asked him if he could he would be good enough to write material for the US President that would be so perfect, it would persuade the nation and unite the country and the world?
Needless to say, that wasn’t answered either.
From then on, the comments became more abusive. I am not worthy of my place on the planet, despite having contributed to my country’s economy for the last 42 years. And people who want to get into arguments about perfection are just crotchety old farts.
This is a guy whose copywriting skills espouse perfection.
The upsetting thing for me as a speaker and a debater is that I learnt most of what I know at McGill University, Toronto 45 years ago. The staff, professors and peers were so welcoming and respectful. They made us feel like royalty. Sounds like education is on a downturn, although I like to imagine this is an isolated incident.
Why is perfection such a big deal for me?
Well, most of my students are perfectionists. They struggle and suffer and exhaust themselves because they can never reach their goal. They tell themselves that they’re failures, useless, and wastes of space.
And yet they’re not.
On my courses, I offer them some new tools to play with which busts perfection once and for all.
We observe and explore the subjective nature of life. We explode perfection in the context of subjective criteria. We deconstruct the issues that inhibit our authenticity and build it up with new foundations.
In a perverse way, I should be applauding this guy for continuing the ‘perfection’ narrative. These guys send me a rich vein of customers every month. However, I want the hype and the bull to stop because the pursuit of perfection in the subjective realm is damaging to individuals and their health. Watching people suffer is not great viewing.
If you’ve ever suffered from perfectionism, come along and let me know. I’ll get you off it, in a fun and caring way. There’s no need to hold back your potential.