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Aiming for Perfection But Remaining Realistic

Even this is not perfect

Even this is not perfect

So we are constantly seeking perfection out of you. Better lumbar extension, faster drop on the Oly lifts, smoother more efficient muscle ups. We coach toward perfection. Most of you have also heard my modification of the age old “practice makes perfect” to “practice makes permanent” therefore “perfect practice makes perfect. This is our jobs as coaches and trainers. To set an expectation of perfection. This is our target.

Now, here is reality. Perfection is impossible. As a chemical engineer I dealt with pumps that would shut down if the axis vibrated more than 5 microns off center. These were not small pumps either. They moved 35,000 gallons of fluid/minute. It boggled my mind that a piece of machinery could be that perfect. Now, this machine cost millions of dollars, was carved out of metal by a computer using lasers. Human bodies are simply not that precise. We are large bags of chemicals that deal with and process the constant imperfections of our environments. That perfect pump had serious problems if any grit got where it didn’t belong. If this ever occurred it would have to be maintained. If you get grit in you, it’s no big deal. Your body deals with it.

In movements, we have a brain that is processing a multitude of inputs as well as processing information gathered over a lifetime guiding a ridiculously complex system of soft tissue connected to a semi-rigid skeleton by other soft tissue to perform a movement. The fact that this generally works out well is astounding enough. Now add in the fact that the conditions are going to be different every time you perform a movement and now the complexity increases even further.

So, what do we take from this? You will never perform a movement perfectly. You may get close. On some occasions it will go exceedingly well and to all outward appearances it will look perfect. But guess what. It could have been better. If we dig deep enough, it could be better. You cold be the best in the world at what you are doing, and it could be better. Well, crap, this is discouraging. Not really. Let’s just be realistic. We’re going to train and practice. We’re going to get better. The aim is to improve from the last time. Perform the movement as well as you can at that moment, every time. If we aim for perfection, it’s ok to fall short. The effort and striving for perfection will yield excellent results, just not perfection.

Lisbeth D. posted a great article on this:

Perfection is not reality

So, don’t beat yourself up if something isn’t perfect. You will basically never hear us say “that was perfect”. “Better”, “good” “Wow that was great!” are all things you will hear, but we’ll also have a comment on how to make it better. This is a good thing. Enjoy the learning. Take heart in the improvement. Be happy with your imperfection.

One Response to “Aiming for Perfection But Remaining Realistic”

  1. Amadraeus says:

    Wow… well, if that’s not perfect, it’s pretty damn close!

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