Josh Bowen: Perfection Does Not Exist

“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.”
~George Orwell

joshThe quest for perfection. The perfect body. The perfect life. The perfect marriage. The perfect job. We all want what we consider to be “perfect.” When something isn’t good enough for us, we drop it and move to something else and then the viscous cycle ensues. Nothing is good enough for us anymore. We are chasing perfection in an imperfect world. We want what we can’t have and once we have it we don’t want it anymore, because its not “perfect.”

The Nirvana Fallacy, is a concept that is defined by, “comparing actual things with unrealistic, idealized alternatives.” It simply means we chase perfection and perfection is not attainable because perfection does not exist. My career as a fitness professional has been spent training and getting to know a vast variety of clients, all of whom want to make some type of change. Every so often, I will find someone who is never satisfied and is always chasing, in their mind, the perfect something. In most cases it would be the perfect body. They will do and try anything (within reason) to attain such an unattainable quest. It can be frustrating and in a strange way admirable that people will go to such lengths to get something they want. I find it somewhat difficult to “harness the reigns” on some people because they give it their all and their all is not adding up, in their mind, to what they want. Perfection does not exist.

The media is great at the projection of perfect. Go to any magazine stand and pick up a Cosmopolitan or Women’s Health or some other vanity focused magazine and you will see the following, “perfect abs in 30 days,” “10 ways to a perfect relationship,” “perfect love making for you and your spouse.” So we as a society think we have to chase this concept of perfection because if the magazines say its possible, it must be. This leads to trouble especially when it comes to people’s body image and concept of who they are.

We have a selection of our population turning to fad diets, crazy supplements and in some cases drugs because of the attempt to have the perfect body. Look at some of the most popular Instagram pages and you will see “fitness pros” who look like they are carved out of granite rock performing exercises and showing you what they do. They look outstanding and in some people’s minds, perfect. However, we all need to eat some humble pie and realize these people are not perfect, we have no idea what they did to look like that, and how long that is sustainable for us long term. I am here to tell you, where there is smoke there is usually fire. No movie star has added 30 lbs of lean muscle tissue without some help. No music artist has six pack abs in their 40s unless they are blessed genetically or have had some surgery. That is a fact jack.

So what the hell are we doing? Why are we killing ourselves chasing something that does not exist? And why do we quit when we realize what we wanted either isn’t achievable or too hard to make work? These are great points to ponder. I suggest the following:

Chase Progress Not Perfection

With your body, your marriage, your relationships. Work on improving things, not being perfect. No situation is perfect. No solution is perfect. So why focus on it. Everyday get a little bit better. This will make a world of difference.

Walk Your Walk

Guess what? Some people won’t like you. Not every one will like you or love you. You aren’t the perfect human being. You are human. Welcome to the land of imperfection. We all live here. So why not relish in the fact we aren’t going to make everyone happy, but we can make ourselves happy. Walk your walk and forget what everyone else says. You know who you are, no one needs to have an opinion on the subject matter.

I leave you with this….

“Why, when we know that there’s no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No – the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect.”

Be authentic. Be you.

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