Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Stop Looking For Perfect And Make It Great

Life is ridiculously and terrifyingly short. Oliver Burkeman’s latest book reminds us that if you live to be eighty, you’ll have had about four thousand weeks on earth. That’s peanuts. Not to mention horrifying.

You may scoff at the notion of how short-lived a lifetime is. Many of us do. The brevity of life seems almost as trivial a fact as that the sky is blue.

But just because it’s so obvious doesn’t make it any less important.

In fact, being aware that you have an expiration date is one of the most important things to keep in the forefront of your mind. 

In a world filled with seemingly infinite wonder, you only get to nibble on a few crumbs and a morsel before you go six feet deep. (I’m actually choosing to be preserved and stuffed so I can still join game night with the grandkids.)

The trouble is this. When you’re presented with an unending smorgasbord and are limited to just a few servings, you probably won’t be thinking how good it tastes. You’ll be thinking about all the things you didn’t choose.

“Did I make the right choice?”

And you’ll never know if you did. Not without sampling everything.

That’s why so many of us are so obsessed with trying new things. We want to know what we’re missing out on!

And so we keep our options open.

We keep our education broad so we can be hired by lots of companies. We job-hop in hopes of finding the best work environment. And we keep dating until we find Mr. or Mrs. Right.

We’re so afraid to settle that we never really commit. All because we reason that we could be missing out on a better deal if we commit to the thing or someone that’s in front of us now.

And that’s a shame.

Because when you’re looking for perfection, you never truly invest in what you find fun or interesting. That’s no longer good enough. 

So we try to cram in as much as possible and do it all. But as Burkeman points out in his book, maximum enjoyment doesn’t come from cramming in as much as possible, but from truly savoring the experience you choose to do.

And it makes perfect sense.

The things that we care about most deeply in life didn’t just show up out of nowhere to sweep us off our feet. No. The affection that we feel for the things we love came to us with time. What once started off as an interest slowly became something precious and dear to our hearts as we invested in it.

Do you look for perfection and passion from the start? Then you’ll undoubtedly find a way to disqualify a job or person before you reach the point of wanting to invest in them.

That way you’ll never really know if you missed out on something amazing. You’ll only know that it wasn’t amazing from the get-go. Hardly surprising.

So don’t settle for everything that comes your way, but do try and be less fussy. Interest and compatibility can and will turn into a passion with commitment. 

Stop looking for perfect and make it great.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach