PERFECTION VS. EXCELLENCE
Written by Jarred Collins
While the two seem awfully similar, they couldn’t be further apart. For a long time, both in my life and at Performance360, I made the mistake of striving for perfection. Of course I knew it was not achievable as I’m a flawed individual like everyone else, but I thought what the hell; might as well aim high, right? This way, when I fall short (which of course I would), I should still have achieved excellence. The problem with perfection is that you’re really just setting yourself up for failure. Why would one do this? Well, because even failure has its payoffs. You get to deflect blame, make excuses, be the victim and most of all, you get to be right. It’s never enough, I’m not good enough, whatever. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve left a workout upset, frustrated and disappointed. And why? Because I apparently couldn’t get x pounds over my head, as if anyone gives a shit anyway. Talk about setting yourself up for failure!
This technique is certainly available to you, I’ve used it successfully for years and achieved quite a bit, my point is, it’s been very unproductive for me. No matter what goal you set, the actual achievement of that goal doesn’t last very long. You want to squat 300 lbs in 6 months, great. It takes 6 months of work to get there and the squat is over in 20 seconds. You spend a whole lot more time on the trip, so why not make it productive…or dare I say, fun? What happens when you strive for excellence? First and foremost, its achievable, it’s possible. Excellence is a matter of showing up, working hard and being extremely satisfied along the way. All that’s required is that you do your best. Not your best ever, not your best this week, just the best you can under the given circumstance at that time. Excellence. Probably the greatest perk that comes from the strive for excellence is the commitment to mastery, the commitment to having things take time. Using time to your advantage. What a concept.
How has this been working out for me so far? Pretty well my friends, pretty well. I approach each workout determined to do my best that day, nothing more. Today is a PR attempt at a clean and I didn’t even come close. Nobody cares. I did my very best that day and I’m happy and satisfied. The timed challenge that took me 9 minutes last month just took 13. So what, I did my best and got in a great workout.
The most interesting anecdote in all of this has been my clean technique. I’ve never done Olympic lifts before my training at Performance360, and I’ve been working on them for a year and a half. I’m a reasonably athletic guy and I usually pick things up pretty quickly. Not this. I spent the better part of a year frustrated and disappointed because I couldn’t clean whatever number I thought I should be cleaning at that time. As soon as I changed my perspective, focused on excellence for the workout and not perfection, an incredible thing happened. I started to get better, to pick up on things I didn’t before. Am I super proficient at cleans now? Hell no, but I’m getting better and having a helluva lot more fun. I’ll get better eventually, and I’m determined to enjoy the trip.
Jarred Collins has been an athlete at Performance360 since January 2015.