Is Perfection the Enemy of Happiness?


Last week, I mentioned that I bought and installed blackout curtains in our bedroom.  This has been a huge improvement in keeping mornings a bit more sacred, and also in blocking out both streetlights and noise at night.  All in all, a huge win.

Except they aren’t perfect.  There are four panels, each with Velcro on the sides and the gaps between the Velcro still allow sunlight in.  Tiny little rays of aggressive, intruding sunlight.

Last week, this was making me very unhappy.  However, I slept in so late on Sunday that it made me realize how much better it is now than it was, and “better” is enough to make me happy.  It has to be, because in life, the results of most of our efforts will be “better,” not “perfect.”

If you make perfection your standard for happiness, you’ll find far fewer things to be happy about than if you put improvement on a continuum and simply decide that each move towards progress (whether a big change or a small one) is good enough to be happy about.

I’m not saying to give up the quest for perfection, but don’t let its absence prevent you from seeing all the change around you that can, should and will make you happy, if you decide to let it.

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