In Celebration of Imperfections: The Case for Doing Things ‘Half-Assed’ – how the Japanese Art of Kentsugi Can Change Your Life!

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he QUEST for PERFECTION more often than not hides behind our best intentions and stellar New Year’s resolution thrown out and all but forgotten just about this time of the year as the end of January rolls around.

But the ideal of Perfection is a potent drug and detoxing is not for the faint of heart. Anything BUT perfection seems weak, ‘unclean’ somehow, or contemptuously dismissed as ‘half-assed’ and shamefully hidden. Better to give up than to think of oneself as putting in only a ‘half-assed’ effort.

What if we could Delight in the Imperfect?

Perfection Paralysis: Thank God for Winston Churchill who has a very different idea when he quipped:

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“The maxim, “Nothing prevails but perfection,” may be spelled PARALYSIS.” 

Winston Churchill

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What if we could Delight in the Imperfect?

It’s great to hear words of (uncommon) wisdom but when it comes to applying it in our daily lives it’s quite a different matter.

Have you ever found yourself unable to let a project go, be seen in your work in a less than perfectly polished fashion, decided to hide instead of publishing your video or writing because you just have to work on it some more. All you can see are the imperfections? And you rather hide than let your imperfections shine?

What about the times you cannot even bring yourself to get started because… well you wait until you are in the perfect mood. And that mode hasn’t struck yet! Let’s be frank, you balk at the mere thought of going through the messy, imperfect stage. Because the PERFECTION DRUG has kicked in high gear, and keeps you stuck.

I’m not even talking about the little polish that word correct or can take care of for you.

No, I’m talking about how most of us having been programmed that a half-assed effort or a half-baked idea is just not good enough. It’s plain embarrassing. And thus, you let others do it. Others who can withstand the pressure of imperfection. While you stay  behind, in the doldrums of self-imposed perfection paralysis.

Even seemingly inspiring ads such as the “Just Do It’ slogan is typically accompanied by images of perfect athletes. Of course you think, I’d Just Do It, if I was that perfect! Yikes!

The French chic on the other hand takes it’s ‘je ne sais quoi’ appeal precisely from imperfection, the hair done in a half-undone chignon, the seeming incongruous combination of styles that pairs sporty jeans with a Chanel vest or retro-chic kitten heels. Or the appreciation of the ‘jolie-laide- the ugly-gorgeous. Those women who fascinate not because they are barbie-doll perfect but somehow imperfect to the point of ugliness but again sublimely stunning.

Or what about the centuries old Japanese art appreciation of Wabi-Sabi: that is the art of finding beauty in the imperfection. There is even the art of Kintsugi of repairing broken pottery with a gold vein to highlight the broken beauty of the vessel.

One last example: even movies or photographs engage us on a deep level when they are open-ended, leave questions open to be pondered rather than providing all the answers. We delight when we envision different possibilities or come up with new perspectives rather than being spoon-fed with perfect solutions.

My Question to you: what areas in your life have been infested with the perfection drug? Plan a week of delightful detoxing by planning for the imperfect, the half-done, the half-assed. And just go for it. And let it guide you into positive change and creation along paths you may never have imagined.



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