REAL POWER: MAXING OUT ON GOD'S LOVE
PERFECT IS THE ENEMY
OF THE GOOD
When you perform surgery, you quickly
learn that perfect is the enemy of good. Every surgical procedure has
certain limits, and when you exceed them, complications occur. The
goal of surgery is to perform a definitive procedure rather than a
perfect one. You commit yourself to excellence rather than
During a surgical procedure, you use
all your skills to achieve an excellent result. When the temptation
arises to pursue perfection, you put down your surgical instruments
and leave the operating room. Every good surgeon resists the
temptation to convert an excellent operation into a perfect one. In
the pursuit of perfection, you push the surgical envelope too far and
We had a saying in surgery that you
should stop just before something bad happens rather than just after.
Thatís the difference between going for a good result rather than a
perfect one. Good gets the job done better than perfect, and does it
with fewer complications. The best surgeons do the least amount of
surgery that still gives definitive results. They achieve excellence
without falling into perfectionís trap.
Life is the same way. Perfection is
the enemy of a good life. Perfection is impossible and trying to
achieve it makes your life worse rather than better.
ESCAPE THE WEB OF SPIRITUAL
People who take their spirituality
seriously often become entangled in perfectionís web. These people
are especially vulnerable to the gospel of perfection. After all,
they believe in God, and they always want to do the right thing and
never do the wrong thing. Many of these over-scrupulous individuals
continually monitor their behavior worrying about sins of omission as
much as they do about sins of commission. Their spirituality is
dominated by an accountant mentality, and they relentlessly keep track
of everything they do wrong.
Perfection is an enticing trap for
spiritual people. All of their spiritual instincts point in the
direction of perfection. What could possibly be wrong with trying to
Unfortunately, what you are trying to
do canít be done. Spiritual perfection is impossible. No matter how
hard you try, it will never happen. You are a human being, and you
are imperfect. Keeping a spiritual scorecard may improve your
performance, but it will not make you perfect.
Scorecards will not enhance your
spirituality. The accountant mentality has no place in your spiritual
life. Your personal relationship with God is based on love. God
isnít keeping score, and you shouldnít either.
PERFECTION HAS THE WRONG FOCUS
Perfection has the wrong focus. Your
focus should be on love. People who have a heart full of love usually
donít have a problem with doing wrong things all the time. Instead,
they focus on doing loving things. When you focus on doing the loving
thing, sins of omission and commission usually arenít a problem.
When the focus of your spirituality
switches to love, the shackles of perfection fall from your arms and
legs. You throw your spiritual scorecard away, and love becomes the
dominant force in your life.
If you become obsessed with spiritual
perfection, it wonít be long before you are ensnared in the web of
self-righteousness. Itís an easy trap to fall into, and usually you
donít realize that you have been caught.
The trap is elegantly simple. It
works like this. Since you want to be perfect, you are totally
committed to being right all the time. People who agree with your way
of thinking and living are right. People who disagree with it are
wrong. You now are the self-appointed judge who determines what is
right and wrong for the entire world. Unfortunately, the chance that
you are always right and the rest of the world is wrong is zero.
The only escape from
self-righteousness is a double dose of humility and love. The dose of
humility reminds you that you are not the one who decides what is
right and wrong for the rest of humanity. The dose of love reminds
you that true spirituality is about love rather than about always
The need to be right is a sign of
spiritual immaturity. When you give up your need to be right, the
focus of your life shifts to love. Your heart becomes filled with
Gods love, and you pass that love on to everyone you meet. You no
longer obsess on whether you are doing the right thing. Instead, you
focus on whether you are doing the loving thing. This change in focus
liberates you from self-righteousness.
LIFE IS STILL TERRIFIC EVEN WHEN ITíS
If you wait around for everything to
be perfect before you enjoy life, you will miss out on all the good
things life has to offer. If you listen to the message perfection
whispers in your ear, frustration and disappointment become unwelcome
guests who never go away.
When you stop and think about it, you
realize that excellence beats perfection by a million miles. The
reason is simple. Perfection is impossible and never happens. On the
other hand, excellence is not only possible, itís your constant
companion as you walk the path to your dreams.
I havenít had a perfect life.
Nevertheless, I had an excellent one. I never had a perfect job, but
I had a couple of good ones. I never had perfect children, but I had
two terrific ones. I never had a perfect wife, but I had an
outstanding one. I never had perfect parents, but they were always
there when I needed them, and they sacrificed to make my life better
than theirs had been. I never had a perfect sailboat, but I have
sailed for thousands of miles on the ocean of my dreams. I donít live
in a perfect world, but itís an excellent one.
Even if perfection was possible, it
wouldnít be worth the effort. The planning and execution of a perfect
trip around the world would require a ten thousand page script, a cast
of thousands, and billions of dollars to make it happen. When the
trip was over, you would still find dozens of reasons why it wasnít
On the other hand, an excellent trip
around the world is easily within your grasp. You can hike it or bike
it. You can sail it or fly it. You can do it on a shoestring or in
opulent luxury. It all comes down to how much time and money you want
to invest in your excellent adventure.
Thatís the way everything is in
life. Perfection is impossible, but excellence is always within your
grasp and is more than worth the effort. An average walk in the park
is still pretty good. Riding a bicycle down a big hill is great fun.
An average walk in the surf at the beach is terrific. When you escape
from perfection, you learn that there are no ordinary moments. Each
one is as special as you make it.
DONíT WORSHIP AT THE ALTAR OF
Donít worship at the altar of
perfection as it will only bring misery. The definitive cure for
perfection is Godís love. You must accept yourself and others as you
are with all of the imperfections. You must love yourself and others
as you are in spite of all the imperfections. Godís love will prevent
you from being ensnared in perfectionís web. You donít need to be
perfect and neither does your life. Donít waste your time trying to
make it perfect. Just open your heart to Godís love, and let your
life get better and better.
Perfection pretends to be my friend while it steals my joy. If I wait
around for everything to be perfect before I enjoy my life, I will
miss out on all the good things of life. Life can be excellent, but
perfection is impossible. The formula for misery is to expect
perfection in myself, my friends, my children, my spouse, my house, my
car, and my job. I donít need to be perfect and neither does my
life. God loves and accepts me the way I am. God never demands
perfection. If itís good enough for God, itís good enough for me.
GO TO NEXT PAGE
THE POSITIVE WEB RING
The Positive Web Ring has twelve positive web
sites. Each site lifts you up, pushes your mind in a positive
direction, and makes it easier to live your dreams. The
Positive Web Ring has something positive for everyone. There's
podcasts, and much more.
If you are fighting against depression, visit
If you struggle with negative thinking, visit
The wheel of change always turns in the direction of what you put into
your mind, and the Positive Web Ring fills your mind with good things.
Give your mind a push in a positive direction today. Cruise your way
to a positive life. If you really want to be positive, nobody
can stop you.
RED SEA CHRONICLES DVD
When Dr. Dave isn't working as a flying doctor for the Indian Health
Service, He is sailing around the world on his sailboat. Find
out what it's like to sail on the ocean of your dreams by watching
Captain Dave's DVD.
Chronicles DVD Previews