When I was a very little kid, perhaps 4 or 5 years old, I used to love painting and I remember I had made a very beautiful scenery, which was way beyond my years. I remember I used to work on that painting every now and then to try and make it better or maybe in order to reach perfection, to make that painting perfect. But it never became perfect for some reason. Maybe I never wanted to be perfect.
One of the greatest artists of all time Leonardo da Vinci has once famously said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” He believed that you can never reach a stage where you can say, ‘Yes, this thing is done now I can start with something else.’ You can always go back and touch up a painting. You can always rewrite a lyric or melody. You can always edit a book. Or I can always go back to this blog and delete this line in order to make it look better! Art is never done. It is never complete. It can always be refined.
And perfection is the stage when you have achieved all that you’ve desired so far. Like Google defines it as having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. So is it a little hard for you to imagine that an artist like Leonardo da Vinci would have said that? A man who made the painting Mona Lisa which is the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world, would say this? But it is the truth, he never believed in the state of perfection, he believed a painting could always be improved. He believed that your work is never done, it can always be bettered, no matter what it is.
But what would happen when you reach perfection? Isn’t it a good sign that you have got to the point where you always wanted to be? I don’t think so. The way human life works is that you seek but to never reach because once you reach your destination you don’t think of going ahead. You stop there only. When you reach perfection, your purpose of life seizes to exist. It is like you are taking a train to visit someplace far away. You go inside the train take the window seat, and then you look out the window. All the way you look outside the window learning from nature, from the people you see. But you’re journey never ends. You’re always on the tracks towards your destination but you never reach it. The journey should never end.
But I don’t say you don’t have to chase perfection. I don’t say you don’t have to take the train. I believe that’s all you got to do, but you must make sure you never reach that place. I feel perfection is an enormous motivator to attain success. It’s like a rabbit with a carrot tied in front of him. He’d try very hard to reach that carrot and eat it, he’d run all around but obviously never reach it. But in order of reach that carrot he’d reach the place where he wanted to be.
Similar is the case with us humans. We are the rabbit in the story and the carrot is perfection we are trying to attain and in the way of reaching perfection, we’d reach excellence.
The only time when you try to improve is when you think you have to better than the person you were in the past, but now if you think you are a master at it, that you are a perfectionist then you’d never think of improving yourself further, so you are creating your own boundaries.
You wouldn’t have anything to chase. I remember Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar-winning speech, which is something like this, A man comes up to a 15 years old boy and asks ‘Who is the person you chase? Who is your hero?’ The boy thinks for a while and replies, ‘I guess it is me in ten years from now.’ The boy then turns 25 years old, that man again comes up to the boy and asks if he has reached where he wanted to reach? If he has now found his hero? The boy says, ‘No! I’m not even close to it, it is still way far ahead of me, my hero is perhaps me at 35.’ He says I’m never going to be that person, I’m never going to reach that stage where I can say I have become my hero or I’ve reached the place where I wanted to be, it would be always 10 years ahead of me, because I always need someone to chase.
So dear readers, I request you all to take the train and chase perfection, but remember your journey should end. You must always have something to chase!