Perfection Is A Process

There is no perfect path, but that does not mean we should not seek perfection in our footsteps.

There are many times in life wherein the right thing to do, whether morally, personally, or professionally, is not totally obvious. Perhaps we do not have all of the necessary information to truly make an informed decision or maybe there are too many options in front of us, or all of the options appear to be equally good or equally bad. Life is often more complex and the correct choice is often more ambiguous than we would like.

For this reason, perfection is an elusive ideal. It is impossible to always know and do what is right or what is best because there is simply no way of deducing what that is or how to do it with the limited amount of information we have at any given time. Add to this the fact that, even with sufficient knowledge, our execution is likely to be flawed or to run into unforeseen obstacles and we have the conundrum on our hands, which is to say that we have to choose between doing nothing at all or taking an imperfect action.

There are certainly circumstances wherein the best course of action is to do nothing, to be patient, and to wait for more to be revealed, but often this is a luxury we do not have because external forces such as time and pressure are working against us and demand that we must act. In these instances, waiting for the perfect answer or the perfect ability to execute may very well mean that we miss our opportunity for success. It is far better, when hesitation will likely lead to failure, to take the imperfect action, but to do so with integrity, an open mind, and the willingness to adapt to new, better information as it is revealed because perfection is never granted, but is found in our adjustments along the way.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh (artist unknown, unless otherwise noted).

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