The Benefits of Imperfection. Why Being Bad at Something is a Good Thing

Perfectionism has often been considered a virtue. However, many who pursue the idea that nothing less than perfect will do, find themselves achieving less. They are frequently bombarded by doubt surrounding their abilities. In fact, no one is good at everything, and the ideal of perfection is unattainable in reality.

Embracing the inherently human beauty of imperfection can help you understand why finding out that you are fundamentally bad at something can be a hugely beneficial experience.

So, when is being bad at something a good thing?

1. When it helps us realize that the pursuit of perfection is impossible and potentially damaging

While many people unconsciously understand that perfection isn't truly achievable, the mere pursuit of perfection is still often praised. However, though working hard and trying your best are certainly virtues, aiming for nothing less than perfect can be incredibly damaging. What happens when you try for perfection and fall short? For many of us, the answer is: we give up. But by giving up, we can miss out on so many opportunities to enjoy life and our efforts, as imperfect as they may be.

Accepting that you are bad at something and doing it anyway can allow you to demonstrate to yourself the value of doing rather than placing all of the emphasis on the achievement. Maybe you love to sing but have found that you won't be winning any record deals. Stopping yourself from joining your community choir because you are a less-than-perfect singer cuts you off from a potentially life-enriching experience. Being content with being imperfect can open you up to more possibilities.

2. When it allows us to appreciate the things we are good at

Realizing that you aren't perfect should lead to the related realization that nobody is. You may be a terrible singer while the person next to you has the voice of an angel. There is inevitably something that you can do excellently that your counterpart stinks at. In other words, recognizing that you are bad at some things should allow you to acknowledge the things that you are talented at. Those are the things that make you a unique and interesting person. Moreover, often the pursuit of perfection leaves us mired down, too scared at failing to try anything new. Once you embrace the idea that you are imperfect and that it is okay to be bad at things, you can allow yourself to try new things without worrying that you'll disappoint. You may just uncover the thing that you're great at.

3. When it enables us to see and share in the talents of others

Accepting imperfection doesn't just allow you to appreciate yourself more; understanding that everyone is bad (and good!) at different things is one of the key principles underlying all successful relationships. Flaws can help people relate to one another through the shared experience of being bad at something. Flaws in combination with vulnerability, enable us to connect with each other through authentic imperfection. Admitting that we aren't good at something and that we make mistakes allows others to appreciate us more, while accepting help from someone else who is talented at what we're bad at allows us to develop stronger relationships based on a shared appreciation of each person's unique gifts.

Being perfect is constraining and ultimately impossible. Embrace the things you are bad at and you can come to better appreciate the things that you, and those around you, are good at.