Perfection Is An Illusion: 13 Insights Why Nothing In Life Is Perfect (2024)

Struggling to understand why perfection is an illusion? Then this article is for you.

We’ll discuss:

  • The reality behind work that is considered perfect
  • The elusiveness of perfection standards
  • The purpose of life’s imperfections
  • The complexities of life that make it imperfect

Let’s jump right in!

13 Insights Why Nothing In Life Is Perfect

1. There’s Always Something Remaining to Be Tweaked

No matter how you polish something, you’ll usually find one or more imperfections that could be fixed. So if you think you’ve done something to perfection, you’re deluded.

Perfection in its true definition is improving something till it remains faultless.

Yet the reality is that there’s always something else to do to make things better. In the history of mankind, while things were thought to be perfect as they were at some point, easier ways of doing things were invented. More beautiful products were created.

The photos of the 60s looked perfect to those who lived in those times. Now they’ve been improved in numerous ways and we think “Oh they’re perfect.” But like everything that’s thought to be perfect, photos would change as long as man is in existence.

The truth remains over millenniums: that even something once thought perfect could be improved.

2. There’s Good and Evil

This world is made up of people with good and evil intentions. While one person is doing good for the positive advancement of their lives and that of others, another is doing the exact opposite. So there’s this constant tug and war between evil and good. And it produces imperfect results.

While one organization is planting trees to improve the climate, another is cutting them recklessly. While one person dedicates their lives to saving lives, another is ending them for some selfish reason. While a philanthropist tries to send relief to the needy, a powerful tycoon robs those same people of their livelihood to amass more wealth and power.

That’s life since ancient times. One man doing good, another doing evil. That’s why life isn’t perfect.

If you’re troubled by this fact, you’re a changemaker. But first, you need to understand that you can’t control this nature of life. All you can do is create the change you desire to promote good as much as you can.

And that’s good enough.

Read: How To Be Less Controlling – Expert Tips

3. There’s No Universal Definition of Perfection

Perfection Is An Illusion
Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

What’s perfect for you isn’t perfect for everyone. So like everything in life, the definitions of perfection are subjective. 

You might make up your face “perfectly” for your first date only for your date to point out that they think a natural face is what’s perfect. You might seek the perfect font for your letter but the recipient may not even notice your efforts. You might attend your interview with a sleek formal look and yet be disqualified for not sharing the company’s personality.

Due to varied perfection perceptions, people misunderstand and hurt each other even to the extent of having wars. That’s why nothing in life is perfect.

4. Growth Involves Imperfection

If you’re growing, nothing would look perfect. Your journey would look messy, unpromising at times, and even downright miserable. But without it, you won’t grow.

The same goes for every progress in life. Whether it’s pioneering or recreating something, there have to be imperfect steps to reach where things look close to perfect. That’s why nothing in life is perfect.

  • For you to develop strength and emotional intelligence, you have to go through some rough encounters with people like narcissists
  • Before a beautiful butterfly shows up, it goes through the ugly stages of larvae and pupa
  • For a child to develop normal teeth, they have to endure being toothless for a while

Growth is imperfect and that’s what makes it so beautiful.

5. You Can Have It All but Not at the Same Time

Many people always ask, “Can you have it all?” This is usually a question of, “Can I be perfectly secure financially, have an incredibly happy relationship with the love of my life, and be physically fit and healthy while doing something I love all at the same time?”

In a nutshell, they ask, “Can I have a perfect life?”

While people’s lives out there might look perfect in pictures, the reality is that they get success in specific aspects of their lives in stages. It all doesn’t come at a go.

While your idol might be at the peak of their career with all the financial benefits you dream of and a body worth a thousand words, they could be struggling to hold together their relationship with their partner due to the shift in their life dynamics.

That’s reality. You know, imperfection across different aspects of our lives.

Therefore, as long as you’re not focusing on the great imperfections that exist in your life right now, you’ll notice the amazing blessings you have and you’d be happy despite the imperfections.

6. What’s Seems Perfect Today Won’t Be Tomorrow

Beautiful houses get destroyed in fires. Beautiful faces develop pimples. Beautiful landscapes get ruined by natural elements.

Perfection or rather the illusion of it isn’t permanent. Nothing is.

As Heraclitus put it simply, “Nothing endures but change. There is nothing permanent except change. All is flux, nothing stays still.” 

7. Feelings Are Fleeting

You might feel something is perfect today only to have a change of heart the next. And this is one of the reasons perfection is an illusion

Perfection is a perspective that can change at any time. 

For instance, you might think your love for your partner is perfect but it doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever. Times of hardship will come and you’ll wonder where that perfect love has gone to.

So are you wondering why nothing in life is perfect? It’s because what you feel today might feel different tomorrow.

Furthermore, what feels perfect also changes over time.

Feelings Are Fleeting
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

8. Imbalancing Forces Are Part of Life

Rain, hurricanes, love, death, pregnancy, marriage – anything can bring imbalance in life and cause an imperfection. That’s why perfection is an illusion. It’s a moving target you can chase forever,

  • Even if you manicure your garden so concisely so it may look perfect, it’ll grow weeds which may make it flawed
  • You can vow to stay single since you fear how unbalanced commitment is only for you to fall deeply in love with someone unexpectedly
  • No matter how perfectly you smooth your hair, the wind would blow some of the strands off position
  • You can secure your family finances for a happy life only for someone to fall sick and drown most if not all of the finances

No matter how trivial or life-changing imbalances are, they make life imperfect. Sometimes they bring happiness, other times sadness. 

9. Life Is neither Black nor White

If you’ve checked out the Fallacy Of Perfection – Insights & Tips For More Balance, you understand that most perfectionists tend to think in black and white. For them, things are either right or wrong, good or bad with no nuances in between.

But life is more complex than that.

Life is imperfect in that sometimes there are multiple answers to one question. Sometimes it’s not one’s smartness or stupidity that caused them to succeed or fail. Sometimes a half solution is the best solution. 

Life doesn’t have a straightforward, binary scale to measure actions and outcomes on. That’s why it’s smart to embrace imperfection and work your best with existing information.

10. We’re Meant to See Beauty in Imperfection

One of the reasons life isn’t perfect is that we may see beauty in the most unexpected ways.

Right there in the messy transitions from where you are to where you want to be, there’s beauty. You just have to look attentively to see it. You just have to let down your perfectionist hat and see how your incomplete journey has been and is presently beautiful.

Think about it:

You learn some of the greatest lessons while making mistakes. When you risk failure to achieve your goals, you encounter incredible adventures along the way. Going against your perfectionist tendencies has produced results like heightened self-esteem. 

So why seek perfection instead of excellence? Is perfection beautiful or just a means to fill the self-acceptance void? What scares you – is it dealing with imperfect people or facing the fact that you’re imperfect yourself?

11. Quotes to Sum up Why Nothing in Life Is Perfect

“No one and nothing is perfect, or we wouldn’t have uniqueness.” – Jasmin Morin

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever. Finally, comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them. And if nothing belongs to me there’s no point wasting my time looking after things that aren’t mine. It’s best to live as if today were the first (or last) day of my life.” – Paolo Coelho

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist “ – Stephen Hawking

“Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.” – Hugh Mackay

“It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect.” – Colson Whitehead

“Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. “ – Vince Lombardi

“Nothing is perfect in God’s perfect plan.” – Neil Young

“What I think I’ve learned is that you’re never going to get it all right, and you can’t obsess about having a fact wrong or a date wrong or something like that, as long as you tried as best you could. If you’ve done the kind of research that you’re sure is pretty good, then you just have to have confidence in it, so that nothing is perfect in life. I think that is what the criticism has helped me to understand.” – Doris Kearns Goodwin

“You are getting better at this, but it’s not good enough. This looks like a tree, but it is an average, ordinary, everyday, boring tree. Breathe life into it. Make it bend – trees are flexible, so they don’t snap. Scar it, give it a twisted branch – perfect trees don’t exist. Nothing is perfect. Flaws are interesting. Be the tree.” – Laurie Halse Anderson

12. We’re Unique

If everyone thought the same way, believed the same things and acted similarly, we’d have a perfect world with predictable outcomes. But it wouldn’t be fun.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

No one would stand out. The world wouldn’t be colorful. But due to flaws and quirks, we can all express our authentic selves. 

This uniqueness in imperfections helps us all bring unique value to the world. And it also tests people’s love for us, helping us know those who love us for who we truly are. This in turn helps us belong – each in their unique tribe, promoting the survival of mankind.

13. Perfection Is An Illusion – Final Pointers

Why perfection is impossible? Is perfection ever possible?

Perfection is impossible because we live in an imperfect world where people have good and bad intentions plus deeds, where natural circumstances like love and death bring shifts, and also because we can’t grow while being perfect. Perfection is an illusion that brings pain and confusion instead of productivity and joy.

What does perfect life is an illusion mean?

A perfect life is an illusion because you can’t live without making mistakes since mistakes make up growth. You have to experience the positive and negative side of your own life, embrace it, and make a life well-lived.

What is the difference between perfectionism and perfection?

Perfectionism is the habit of constantly seeking to achieve perfection while perfection is the state of something being flawless/without needing improvement.

Perfection is an illusion meaning

Perfection is an illusion means nothing in life is perfect. Nothing is permanent due to constant change, perfection is subject to perception, and with continual growth, nothing can reach a state of flawlessness. This illusion of perfection affects mental health, giving one the idea that one can gain every quality that makes one a perfect human.

Is perfection real – Perfection is an illusion based on our own perception

Perfection is not possible. However, you can be deceived by something that seems flawless to you to think that perfection is attainable. But the reality is, what you perceive as perfect is flawed to another person looking from a different perspective. So there’s no such thing as perfection on this planet.

Perfection is the enemy of progress – Perfection explained

Winston Churchill famously said, “Perfection is the enemy of progress” and he’s right to this present moment. Perfectionism causes procrastination as one claims to be waiting for the perfect moment, is inefficient, promotes the fear of failure, and leads to deep dissatisfaction upon failure to meet this unattainable goal.

Summing Up

If you’re one of the many people struggling with perfectionism, I hope this piece has given you more clarity on why and how perfection is an  illusion. 

And hey, we have plenty of resources to help you embrace this mindset to gain happiness in the moment while guaranteeing you a successful future as well.

Before you go, don’t forget to share this piece with your friends to help change lives.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.