About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Listen and learn: Perfection

"Strive for perfect, but never expect it." My good friend's father, let's call him Kevin, told me this the other day. It's something that I had known, or that I had at least come across earlier, but I had never paid much credence to it. I think that it's very difficult to separate the expectation from the action of trying to reach perfection, especially now when it seems as though nothing is ever good enough to get you into a good school or get you a good job, etc.

Nevertheless, after having that conversation with Kevin, it forced me to acknowledge that expecting perfection can only lead to an even greater amount of stress in an already high stress world. In other words, always try to do my best for the things that really matter to me, but if they don't work out as planned, everything will be okay. Don't look at it as something you "must simply live with" (that doesn't allow you to fully accept the outcome, good or bad), but imagine it more as a different outcome that may or may not lead somewhere else, perhaps an even better place than you thought was possible. You never know what's coming up, no matter whether you've achieved that "perfection" or not, and things will always change for better or worse. Just go with your own flow.

From another perspective, this also does not mean that you or I have to live with being "mediocre" in our own eyes (or even our parents' eyes), not by any means. As long as you can "strive for perfection," whether you reach it or not doesn't make you any more perfect, mediocre, bad, or any other adjective you could think of. The ability to try your hardest without any expectations is hard enough to master. Don't allow your parents and especially yourself apply gratuitous pressure and punishment upon yourself.

However, for those of you who can't help but over think and are "perfectionists" (for lack of a better word), it does become difficult to know whether or not you've tried your hardest. If you "fail" to reach your goal, you feel as though you haven't tried hard enough. But that's okay! It's all part of learning to strive for perfection but never expect it. I think that over time it will become increasingly easy to know when you've tried as hard as possible, and it will become easier to do that all the time. And keep in mind, you can always keep trying your hardest again and again, and, no matter what, that experience and practice will always get you closer and closer to your ultimate goal.

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