Frustrated Perfectionist

For many years I’ve thought of myself as a perfectionist. A frustrated one.

But how can a person be a perfectionist without being frustrated? “Frustrated” almost seems to be redundant when used with “perfectionist.”

I’m reminded of that that every time I write a new song, make a new home recording, or write a new novel. God has given me the necessary talents to do those three things, and He’s helped me to grow in my ability to use those skills effectively.

Each of those activities requires constant practice, and I must not only accept the fact that improvement comes slowly, but that I will never be as good at any of those things as I would like to be.

What would it feel like to be the BEST–at anything? If I could just complete one project that didn’t leave me saying, “That’s the best I can do for now. I could keep working at it, but the additional changes and improvements would be minimal. Not worth the effort. Why should I settle for less than perfect, though? Don’t I don’t know how to do it better? How does it honor God to call it complete now?”

Whenever I read one of my old novels–published or unpublished–the imperfections that didn’t matter then wave a red flag in my face. As if saying, “How did you dare to think you were done with that?” When I listen to my home recordings of original songs, I almost invariably regret not having tried one last time to improve one part, usually the vocal.

Interestingly (to me, anyhow), I sometimes make minor changes to one of my songs years after I wrote it. Maybe I realize I changed the chord I used at a particular place. Other times I lower a note here or there because I can no longer hit the original note(s) (assuming I ever could).

And–this is a relatively new development–I’ve actually gone back and added refrains or bridges to several of my older songs.

Why did I do those things? Was it because my desire to be perfect–or to come closer to being perfect–took over?

I hope not. I hope it’s because my skills in a particular area have grown and I see those as places to apply them.

Will I ever outgrow being a frustrated perfectionist? Will I ever be fully satisfied with a project I call completed because I simply can’t do any better, no matter how much I want to?

I doubt it. But as long as God keeps helping me to sharpen my talents,  I can look forward to each new project and thank Him that it was better than the previous one. Maybe not in every way, but still somehow better.

What about you? Do you find it easy to let go of something you’ve done–maybe even a task at work–and put it behind you? Or do you keep looking for ways to improve it when quite possibly you don’t have the skills or the know-how to do better? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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Best regards,