The Ne Plus Ultra

I like to think that whether we are aware of it or not, the hunt for perfection is the motor that runs the wheels of our society. We often tell ourselves (and each other) that perfection doesn’t exist, and yet, we’re able to see it in nature, hear it in songs, spot it in art and in films…even in organized pantries where the cookie jars are lined so neatly in a row, they look like soldiers.

But google the word perfection, and all you’ll get are perfect ten scorecards, images of the word, compasses with arrows pointing towards “excellence” (which I desperately need), and photos of this hand gesture ↓

Related image

Somewhere in Greece, someone’s already offended.

We may see a picture of a model wearing something over-the-top and think: “What. The. Fuck!” only to discover that the wtf dress won awards for its design. We may even show it to a friend, because damn! Check out this eyesore – and then learn that our friend appreciates the exquisiteness we were unable to comprehend.

What most of us don’t realize is that perfection is personal. When we do something and feel it’s not good enough, someone else will tell us: “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” Nevertheless, that same someone will be able to relate to our need to “do things right”. In fact, we’ll often find they understand us. Because the truth is, while some of us spend hours lining cookie jars neatly, others couldn’t give a fuck. They’re too busy designing their next wtf clothing. We can’t find a proper picture of perfection on Google, because the ne plus ultra is different for everyone, depending on what we perceive as beautiful. Is it the sound of a well-oiled machine? A graceful relevé or saute? The taste of French Burgundy? An exquisite tattoo?

For me, beauty is that one musical note that sends a shiver down a spine. It’s a scene that forces a ribcage to close in around a heart. It’s a painting that evolves from a canvas into a discussion topic. It’s a book with lines we will never forget.

As a perfectionist, I do have the nasty habit of setting the bar too high for myself. As a result – I take longer time than most to create something beautiful.

Some days, when my work is too time-consuming, I lose motivation and hope. Keeping my sight set on that level of sublimity can feel pointless. Then I’ll start to lie to myself saying:  “There’s enough beauty in the world. We don’t need more.” But I regain my motivation by reminding myself that there can never be enough beauty in this world. Yes – it’s fleeting. It fades away. Still, our favorite seasons come and go, flowers wilt and die, buildings age and crumble, and we’ve never had a reason to enjoy these things any less because they improve our mood and affects our thoughts. If anything, we need more of it.

Now, I’ve been having a sneaking suspicion that in order to bring “perfection” to the table, there are three things we need to learn:

  1. To accept that it exists.
  2. To find out what our own personal sense of beauty and perfection is.
  3. Always believe that we can achieve it


If perfection is too big a word, we can always use the term “our best”.  So, dear readers – what is your definition of perfection and how can/do you strive to achieve it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.