343 – No One Is Perfect, So What?

No one is perfect. You aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. None of your teachers, mentors, or roll models will ever be perfect. You will be an imperfect role model, teacher, leader, mentor—you already have been whether you know how or not.

Being “not perfect” is universal. But, being universally imperfect isn’t an excuse to be as imperfect as possible. Many leaders make excuses for themselves saying, “No one is perfect,” but they never specify exactly how imperfect people and institutions must be in order to warrant making new friends and new institutions to replace the old ones. The signatories of the Declaration of Independence certainly thought England was imperfect enough. So, how imperfect is “imperfect enough” for you to change and do a better job?

Your own imperfection means that you have an ongoing, ever-developing laundry list of problems to clean up. So, don’t make excuses, clean up after yourself. But, while you do your own laundry, never stop learning from everyone you can.

The universality of the imperfection of humanity is a double-edged sword: 1. You have your own mess to constantly clean up. 2. Learn and gain from everyone, no matter how bad; if someone’s problems make it impossible for you to gain from them, then you have every reason to look for someone else—but you still can learn from that person.

Imperfection is actually a question of whether you can put up with other people’s garbage long enough to get what you need from their help. As for you, keep your garbage to yourself as much as you can so that you help others a lot more than you annoy.

The double-edged sword of the universal imperfection of humanity comes with a sheath to keep it from injuring people: Restore sinners gently.

When you are forced to deal with someone else’s imperfection, deal gently. Don’t confront with an open blade, keep your sword in its sheath. When you must leave or fire someone, there’s no way to do it that will avoid all hurt feelings always. But, you can at least evade injury and, when your imperfect swordsmanship causes injury to others, at least don’t pour salt on the wounds you caused.