Beware of Perfection Paralysis

In talking with my sister Sharon one recent afternoon, she used a phrase, ‘perfection paralyses’. Later in a conversation with our son Edward, I listened to him explain how people should start shipping what they have and not wait until everything is aligned and all the ducks are in a perfect row. Those conversations caused me to think, and wake up this morning, before it was light, to write.

I could not quietly find a sharp pencil in Raechel’s house where we were spending the night, so I wrote with several dull pencils on a sketch book pad that belonged to Sophie. I’ll need to get her a new one now. Acting imperfectly I scribbled out what you are reading now, actually producing something. Since no English Professor will be critiquing this I plan to blog it with few revisions.

Another example of this idea is my college life 1956-1960. I went to BYU unprepared, worked, attended classes, and finished. I certainly was not at the top of my class but I stayed the course. The result of that effort has been multiplied many times and like ‘bread upon the water’ come back a hundred fold to bless me personally, my family, and others. The Lord enlarged and ‘perfected’ the little bit that I began at seventeen.

Because we cannot do something perfectly we often do not act. Yet, if we did begin and do what we could, we and others would benefit. The Book of Mormon, a powerful life changing book, was translated in about sixty days and published as a running text. Later it was divided into chapters, verses, with an index and footnotes added. In its original form it began changing lives for the good and it continues to do so today in its more perfect form. Now it has been translated into many languages and is read throughout most of the world. But it began simply when Joseph Smith put it on paper, with the blessing and help of the Lord, and published it.

So it is with many poems, stories, pieces of art, acts of kindness, helpful ideas, and even our lives. We need to act as we can and go forward, remembering that Christ is the finisher of our faith (good actions). We begin doing what we can and He will through inspiration, grace, and the help of other people perfect our efforts.

This blog too, is an effort of thought and words not all perfectly formed or executed. It is my hope that someone, somewhere, will encounter these ideas and be encouraged or validated. Remember, if we cannot give a shiny apple to our teacher, a clean, washed potato will do!

One thought on “Beware of Perfection Paralysis

  1. Wayne Shelton says:

    Glad that Sophie’s notebook could be put to good use. Thanks for sharing your imperfection with us, as at least in this household, you are pretty close to perfection! 🙂

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