perfection is a journey, not a destination

Celebrate Progress, not Perfection

A story of how a Dad nurtures his son to keep getting better at his craft, without letting complacency kill him.

#NurturingGrowth #GrowthMindset #SelfDevelopment #ContinuousGrowth #LifelongLearning

A story by S. K. Sharma & Huzaif



Software Developer @ Codewave



Software Developer @ Codewave

There once lived a young boy named Seven, in a small village, growing up in a small family, struggling with poverty and surrounded by poverty. He loved playing with clay and was very passionate about molding sculptures from clay. His home was just like every other home in that village, which meant having no unique materials or tools to make objects and sculptures – other than some wet mud or clay, which was the only thing their home had that enabled making sculptures.

Every day he used to make something new and then with a small expectation of “appreciation from his dad”, he used to run to him with a smile on his face, thinking dad will praise him one day for his work which was created with so much dedication.

Seven longed for his dad to say –

“Perfect! You’re so talented.”

All the expectations of Seven would come crumbling to the ground, shattering into thousands of fragments, when his dad would tell him –

“Good effort, try to do better next time.”

His Dad would tell the same thing each and every time, and sometimes he would even be more critical saying – “It isn’t up to the mark” and would suggest to him to make it better.

Seven would keep trying to get better.

He had only one friend, Raju who lived 3 miles away from him. Raju was not very social because he would spend most of his time honing his skills. Every weekend Seven and Raju would meet at a place between two villages that had a big banyan tree that provided cool shade and a comfortable place to sit and chat around.

This week, like usual, they met at the same place. Raju invited Seven to his sister’s marriage which was happening in his village. Seven found it exciting since he had never been to a wedding, so far from his home.

The day arrived, Seven dressed in his best outfit, left his home towards Raju’s village.

The road was muddy and to his bad luck, it even started raining. Due to the rain, the mud seemed to turn into clay. Seven stopped near the banyan tree to not get drenched in the rain, but the rain was unstoppable that day.

He got bored while simply standing under a tree and doing nothing. He started making a sculpture from raw mud which was like clay.

Hours went by, the rain had stopped, and Seven with his extraordinary focus and passion completed the sculpture, totally forgetting about the wedding he had to attend.

Some villagers passing by, saw the sculpture, were astounded, and were in complete shock that such a young boy would make things as “perfect” as they looked to be. News quickly spread across the village, and everyone visited the banyan tree.

People praised –

“You’re a naturally talented boy and blessed with a gift! You did this effortlessly, at this small age.”

Seven was pleasantly surprised and also felt proud of his natural strengths, talents. And he couldn’t wait to show what he had done to his dad.

Seven’s dad had arrived by then and heard people’s praises of his son’s talent and gifts.

Seven ran to him with a broad smile on his face. He was longing to tell his dad about what happened.

But to Seven’s surprise, his dad looked very sad and empty. Seven was confused why his Dad would feel so sad, when so many people appreciated his son for his talent!

Dad replied with a saddened voice,

“Seven, you showed great progress – son. I am sad because you’re starting to feel proud of already being perfect. When you feel you’re already perfect at something, you will stop growing and becoming better. Your focus will not be on improving your skills, since you have accepted – that you have already achieved perfection and there is nothing else to learn.”

That day Seven understood why his dad would not praise him for his talent or perfection. He understood why his Dad always – pushed him to make progress.

Moral of the Story:

When you appreciate someone for their talent, “Wow, you’re already so perfect”, they’re likely to feel they’ve reached a peak, they get complacent and stop growing. When you appreciate someone for their effort “Wow, great progress, you’re getting better”, they’re likely to be reminded of their transformation and continue growing. If you’re nurturing people – don’t let someone limit themselves by the “illusion” of perfection, because perfection is a myth, and a dangerous one – help them make progress.

And for yourself – don’t chase the (illusion) of perfection and hit a saturation point, keep making progress and lead others by example.

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