May 31 2012

Progess, not Perfection

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
-Winston Churchill

  In 1978, while vacuuming his home, James Dyson realized his bag vacuum cleaner was constantly losing suction power. He noticed how dust quickly clogged the pores of the bag and blocked the airflow, so that suction dropped rapidly. He set to work to solve this problem. Five years and 5,127 prototypes later, the world’s first cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaner arrived.

Progress, not perfection

Just this month, while I was trying to recover from a viral flu, I lay on the couch for two weeks, rested, dozed and watch TV. On one show, Anderson Cooper had Sir James Dyson as a guest; I was intrigued by this man. He made a comment that struck a chord with me, and I wrote it down. “Progress, not perfection” He also made a comment about “wrong thinking”; he said that we should not be afraid to make mistakes!

I’d been sick for over a week when I heard him say that. I just wanted to be better. I didn’t want to go through the process of recovery, making a bit of progress every day. I just wanted to wake up one morning and be perfect – perfectly healthy!

When I heard James Dyson say “Progress, not perfection” it changed the way I perceived improving my health. I needed to make progress and not expect perfection! That makes so much sense, but how often do I just aim for perfection without being willing to going through the steps required to get there.

you don't need to be perfectJust imagine James Dyson making over five thousand prototypes to perfect his vacuum! And it took him FIVE YEARS!!! I would have given up after a few, I’m sure. But he didn’t. He understood the principle of ‘Progress, not perfection’.

Not only did that make sense in my recovery, it makes sense in all areas of my life. When I had the flu, I started to hope for a bit of energy every day – a little more than the day before. As my energy started returning, I realized that I still needed to pace myself and get rest every day. I was making progress.

So it is with our whole lives. Don’t be upset about how far you have to go. Be excited about how far you’ve come. Enjoy where you’re at on the way to where you’re going.

Think of an area in your life that you’d like to change. Do you want to be perfect in that area? Are you losing patience with yourself? Take a minute to think about “Progress, not perfection”. What would it look like if you were making a little progress every day …or every week?

Discontent is the first necessity of progress. –Thomas A. Edison

Strive for progress. You do not have to be perfect!

 Choose one area of your life and think of one thing you can do today to start the process of “Progress, not perfection”. 

Please share it with us so we can all be inspired?

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