How to Vanquish “Perfect is the Enemy of the Good”

by Oct 11, 2019Opportunities, Organizational & Workplace Learning, Reflective Practice, Writing1 comment

I finally wrote and published my first article on Medium. Please take a look, share it, and/or CLAP!!

1 Comment

  1. Adam Williams

    Jeffrey … I have mulled over this topic since you first posted it, and have some thoughts to share. Our modern day society has been inundated with images and concepts of perfection … being it physical, intellectual, or performance based. The concept of perfection is ingrained in our collective psyches from a young age … young girls become obsessed with looking like super models, young boys have to be perfectly manly in their athletic and social pursuits, and on it goes into adulthood. Once out of our teen and college years, physical perfection is still an obsession for many, but performance perfection on the job becomes the new goal. The hyper-competitive nature of Wall Street, graduate school, Division 1 sports, etc. accepts nothing less than perfection, and the giants of industry, sport, and entertainment become John Q. Public’s models, for better or worse. Thus, we as a society are conditioned from and early age to strive for perfection, despite perfection in its truest form being unattainable. We (collectively) are left in a catch-22 of obsessing over a concept that is unrealistic. I do my small part to fight against perfection by teaching my 8th graders to focus on effort, rather than arbitrary number grades, and to learn to be happy with themselves as they are. Hopefully, it is sinking in and taking pressure off 13 years olds who have more to worry about than perfect grades and perfect physical images.

    All that said, the incessant barrage of imagery of perfection through media will never end. There will always be the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue to gawk at, the Fortune 500 to dream of, and some self righteous self help guru crowing about “good” not being good enough to attain financial and spiritual satisfaction. Striving for perfection is fine, but finding satisfaction in (and acceptance of) good is very much an individual pursuit, one that will require a dramatic culture change to become mainstream.


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About Me

Jeffrey M. Keefer, Ph.D., is an educational consultant, institutional researcher and accreditation officer in higher education, professor of research methodology, nonprofit capacity building and strategic planning consultant, talent development coach, spiritual life advisor (chaplain) at New York University, spiritual director, and Wikipedian.