November 20, 2013
I ran across this quote the other day
“Strive for Progress not Perfection”
As we continue the run up to the holidays, we are dusting off our Christmas repertoire and making ready for the season – playing church services, holiday parties, and winter weddings. We work extra hard on the Christmas songs – we have to, everyone knows them and they’ll know if we make a mistake.
And so we get stuck on the perfection treadmill – certain that people will know our every “jazz improvisation” and find us wanting.
And yet, has this actually happened to you? We have all had some challenging opportunities to play. Sometimes we do not actually recognize the tune that came out of the harp – what comes out is so different from what was in our heads! But has anyone stood up and shouted, “You should have played a Bmin chord there!”?? Has anyone ever up and left while you were playing because you didn’t play perfectly?
The answer, we all know, is NO! It is much more likely that no one even noticed that you didn’t play to perfection. And we shouldn’t strive for perfection. If you look beyond your next performance and focus on the future you’ll see the importance of striving for progress rather than perfection.
We all have room to improve. But to do so, we have to be prepared to do some work. And you have to identify where you should make progress. Progress will come from consistent practice and careful work.
Then you have to be sure to watch for your progress and chart it in a visible way. And when you have made progress, you can then celebrate your achievement!
Perfection is dull - strive for progress and enjoy!