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Perfection Is Not Reality

Having a beer at the 2011 CrossFit Sports Series event in Utah

Stop the madness.

You cannot eat perfectly, work out perfectly, live perfectly.

Or if you did,you’d be a miserable SOB that no one would ever want to talk to, or work with, or sweat near.

You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to screw up. You’re going to fall horribly off the wagon sometimes. Derail. In the ditch. Wheels off the bus. (Use every single transportation metaphor in the entire English language if you have to. Metaphors for everyone!)

It happens. And it really doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do after the wheels are off the bus.

  • Do you pick yourself up and carry on?
  • Do you go back to your couch and feel sorry for yourself and give up?
  • Do you try again but keep making the same mistakes over and over?

That’s where you really tell me something about yourself and your character.

I’m not interested in the person who never made a mistake. And I’m not interested in the person who made a lot of mistakes and did not learn from them. But I’m really interested in the person who made a lot of mistakes and learned from them and got better. That’s the person who can teach all of us something. That’s the person to keep your eyes on. That’s the person to stand near and feed off their energy—because that person is going somewhere we all want to go.

Someone said this to me today: “The stress from pursuing perfection will a lot of times outweigh the benefits.” And he’s right. Sometimes, we make our own kind of crazy and it’s counter-productive to our goals. We think we have to live at 100%, when instead sometimes we’ll be at 103%, sometimes at 80%, sometimes at 90%. What matters is your batting average, not each swing of the bat.

So, dial everything in and go like hell, but don’t think everything has to be perfect all the time. It can’t be. And that’s okay. You’re going to learn a hell of a lot more from driving that bus with three wheels than you ever did with four. And when you take it into the guardrail (and you will) get out and put the spare on and keep going.