post written by: Marc Chernoff
Why Our Search for Perfection Fails Us
Tonight, over a couple of cocktails, one of my good friends spilled her guts to me about all of her failed attempts to find the perfect lover. Although her story was about her unique personal experiences, I couldn’t help but feel like I had heard the same story told by others in completely different circumstances a hundred times before.
It’s a story about the endless quest for perfection. And I think it carries a valuable life lesson, so I’d like to retell it to you in my own words.
The Perfect Woman
Once upon a time, an intelligent, attractive, self-sufficient woman in her late twenties decided that she wanted to settle down and find a husband. So she journeyed out into the world to search for the perfect man.
She met him in New York City at a bar in fancy hotel lobby. He was handsome and well spoken. In fact, she had a hard time keeping her eyes off of him. He intrigued her. It was the curves of his cheek bones, the confidence in his voice, and the comfort of his warm, steady hands. But after only a short time, she broke things off. “We just didn’t share the same religious views,” she said. So she continued on her journey.
She met him again in Austin a few months later. This time, he was an entrepreneur who owned a small, successful record label that assisted local musicians with booking gigs and promoting their music. And she learned, during an unforgettable night, that not only did they share the same religious views, he could also make her laugh for hours on end. “But I just wasn’t emotionally attracted to him,” she said. So she continued on her journey.
She met him again in Miami at a beachside café. He was a sports medicine doctor for the Miami Dolphins, but he easily could have been an underwear model for Calvin Klein. For a little while, she was certain that he was the one. And all of her friends loved him. “He’s the perfect catch,” they told her. “But we didn’t hang in the same social circle, and his high profile job consumed too much of his time,” she said. So she cut things off and continued on her journey.
Finally, at a corporate business conference in San Diego, she met the perfect man. He possessed every quality she had been searching for. Intelligent, handsome, spiritual, similar social circles, and a strong emotional connection – perfect. She was ready to spend the rest of her life with him. “But unfortunately, he was looking for the perfect woman,” she said.
The Story of Our Lives
As human beings, we often chase hypothetical, static states of perfection. We do so when we are searching for the perfect house, job, friend, or lover.
The problem, of course, is that perfection doesn’t exist in a static state. Because life is a continual journey, constantly evolving and changing. What is here today is not exactly the same tomorrow.
That perfect house, job, friend, or lover will eventually fade to a state of imperfection. Thus, the closest we can get to perfection is the experience itself – the snapshot of a single moment held forever in our minds – never evolving, never growing.
So rather than chasing an imaginary perfection, let’s start chasing life by flipping past the imperfections found on the cover of every entity we encounter and into the blank pages of possibility waiting beneath the cover that will eventually tell the story of our lives.
With a little patience and an open mind, over time, I bet that imperfect house evolves into a comfortable home. That imperfect job evolves into a rewarding career. That imperfect friend evolves into a steady shoulder to lean on. And that imperfect lover evolves into a reliable lifelong companion.
Photo by: Farfie