Why Do We Strive for Perfection?


Sarah Kodama , Staff Writer

Perfection: a flawless state in which everything is exactly right. In this article, I will be answering the question, “Why do we strive for perfection, even if it isn’t attainable?” The first thing that we need to answer is, ‘What is perfection?’ Perfection is the state at which someone or something, maybe even someplace, is free of all flaws or defects. This is the dictionary definition. But the dictionary definition, while it may be true, will differ in meaning for every person. It depends on our background, our life goals, and every single action that we perform during our lives.

This is the second thing that we need to answer. What is perfection to us? Perfection, in my eyes, is being so great at something, there is nothing that anyone needs to teach you about that specific subject. For example, if I drew something, and there wasn’t anything that someone would need to say about it, that specific piece of art would be perfect. However, my background and previous actions have influenced what I believe is perfection.

This leads us to the third thing that we need to answer. What influenced our own definition of perfection? And why do we believe that this is right? Think about any memories that you might be able to apply to these questions. Perhaps it was a specific moment or event in your life that caused you to think this way. Maybe it was just the journey of life that had a certain effect on you. Even if you don’t recognize the influence initially, I promise you, there is something. Everything that we believe is based on previous experiences. It is what makes us all so different because it is what shapes our personalities and emotions.

The last thing that we need to answer is why we strive for perfection. We might strive for perfection because someone or something such as a parent or coach, or maybe ourselves is forcing us to do so. We might strive for perfection because it gives us a goal to reach in life; a life’s purpose perhaps. There are probably millions if not trillions of reasons why we strive for perfection, but we never really think about why we do it when we know it isn’t attainable. But, how do we know it isn’t attainable? What proof do we have of that statement? Salvador Dalí once said, “Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” While this may seem a little bit degrading in some cases, it is by far one of the most truthful statements you’ll hear today.

As mentioned before, perfection just gives us something to strive for, sometimes with no intention of actually being completely perfect. We, as humans, will sometimes just stop when we are satisfied enough with whatever we have done and move on with our whimsical lives. But, we still don’t know why we still strive for perfection even though it isn’t attainable. Some people have a feeling that when someone says that something is forbidden or that they can’t do it, it makes them want to do it more.

Attaining perfection is similar to that. To me, people strive for perfection because they know that it is impossible to completely achieve it. They think that they’ll even feel even better or more accomplished if they do fulfill the goal that has been so greatly desired by many. But in summary, we do things that aren’t attainable because they are just that. They aren’t attainable. Our sole reasoning for perfection might differ because of certain circumstances or applicants. However, in the long run, we simply strive for perfection because we want to be the best that we can be.