Perfection vs. Excellence

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Perfection vs. Excellence

There’s a huge difference between doing something well and doing it perfectly. Attempting to be perfect can bring on feelings of inadequacy and even interfere with completing important projects. Excellence, on the other hand, is attainable and is always more than good enough.

Eliminate the idea of perfection from your life and you’ll see your productivity soar. For example, a poorly written, but complete, book can still be published. But a perfectly composed book that’s only half finished is essentially worthless. Of course, there’s a middle ground between poor and perfect. And that terrain includes excellence.

The problem with perfection is that it can never be truly attained. So, in pursuing perfection, not only are you doomed to fail, but in the end, you also might have nothing to show for your efforts.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

Apply the Law of Diminishing Returns to striving for perfection:

Imagine if you spent 25 hours on a two-page paper for a college class. Would you get an A? I would certainly hope so, but what else may have suffered because of it? What about your other classes and obligations? Maybe instead you could have done something enjoyable.

The other thing to consider is this: could you have gotten an A with two hours of work? Or five? From a practical standpoint, the same results can often be attained with much less time and effort. There is nothing to be gained by spending more time on something than truly needed.

If you spent six hours washing and waxing your car and your neighbor spent two hours on his, do you think anyone could tell the difference a week later? More importantly, what else could you have accomplished with those extra four hours? Life is short, and there’s a lot to do. What else could you do with your time besides trying to be perfect?

Pursuing Excellence Instead

Of course, you’ll want to decide on the level of excellence you wish to attain before getting started on a project. Everything you do should have standards that you strive to attain. If you choose your benchmark of completion properly, there’s never a good reason to go beyond that point.

What exactly is excellent, anyway? In our discussion, excellent means that the task was completed at a high enough level that there’s no cause for concern. You know your work will meet whatever requirements are put upon it. Regardless of the nature of the task, you know that it’s done well enough and you have zero concerns about it.

When deciding how well a project really needs to be done, consider the possible outcomes if the task is completed at various levels of quality. Obviously, a surgical instrument requires a much higher level of quality than a spoon.

Once the proper level has been set, you now have a target, a goal that’s been chosen with some thought and intelligence. Now, simply perform the task to that level and stop. That task is completed, and it’s time to do something else.

Giving up a habit of pursuing perfection might seem challenging. However, you’ll be happier, more productive, and you’ll maintain your sanity much more easily by striving for excellence instead. Focus on exceeding expectations. In terms of time, quality, and productivity, excellence always wins in the end.

Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Feelings

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As children mature, they’ll experience all kinds of emotions. Like all humans, they’ll also have reactions to those feelings. Because of their natural responses, they’ll find it helpful to learn to manage their emotions as early in life as possible. You can do a lot to help them with this!

These tips can help you teach your kids about their emotions:

  1. Be open and honest about your feelings in your kids’ presence. It’s important for your children to see you as a healthy, active adult who appropriately expresses their feelings.

  2. How you manage your own feelings provides your young child’s first lesson in how to express his feelings.

  3. Modeling is one of the most powerful forms of teaching behaviors to children.

  4. Show respect. Verbally express your feelings in ways that are helpful and that show respect for others. When you and your spouse appropriately talk about your emotions and share them with each other, kids learn how to do it just by observing.

  5. Use “I” statements followed by “feeling” words when you share your emotions in front of your children.

  6. For example, “I feel really annoyed when you play with your friends on the way home from school and get here 30 minutes late.”

  7. Be mindful of your tone of voice. If you use appropriate tones of voice when expressing feelings, your kids will learn to use them as well.For example, instead of raising your voice when you’re upset, make an effort to keep your voice calm.

  8. Identify your young children’s emotions with them. For very young children, two or three years old, it’s beneficial to label and clarify the children’s feelings in their presence. Especially at six years and under, children usually have little understanding of how their emotions function.

  9. For example, if a three-year-old gets angry and stamps his feet because he wants candy, get down to his eye level and say something like, “You’re angry at mommy right now because you can’t have candy.”
  • Use names of feelings, like angry, mad, sad, happy, pleased, frustrated, and others. You convey a great deal of emotional learning when you teach a child about feelings by using the names of emotions.

  • Sometimes, you may find it helpful to tell a youngster, “It’s okay if you’re mad.” Giving the child permission to feel and express his feelings can be very validating for them, even if they don’t respond that way at the time.
  • On the other hand, if a young child gets frustrated or angry and throws a toy that could hurt someone, it’s advisable to state, “No, don’t throw your toys. It’s not okay to throw your toys.” Separate the actions from their emotions and from them as people.

  • Remember, it’s futile for adults to get frustrated or angry with young children who have a lot to learn about their emotions. Your patience will show them, by modeling, how to keep their cool, even in a frustrating situation.

  • Reward them. When your child manages their feelings appropriately, providing immediate positive reinforcement makes a big difference in how a child learns to express emotions. Emotional management will often manifest in appropriate behavior.
  • Smile and say something like, “Billy, I like the way you sat so still in the grocery cart. You did a great job!”

  • When offering positive comments, state your child’s name and obtain eye contact with him. This will help reinforce the positive behavior.

As a parent, one of the most important lessons you’ll ever teach your children is how to identify and appropriately express their feelings. Apply the tips above to help ensure that your children grow into mature, healthy adults.

What are some ways do you teach your children about feelings? How do you express your own?

9 Ways to Develop Daily Discipline

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Discipline is something we all wish we had a little more of. With discipline, losing weight, going to the gym, and flossing regularly are a piece of cake. Goals are achieved, and we feel good about ourselves when we exercise discipline.

You’re also less susceptible to your impulses and emotions when you have a high level of discipline.

Use these techniques to gain the discipline necessary to control your behavior and achieve your goals:

  1. Make your bed. It’s a simple thing, but if you’re like most people, you either don’t do it or you don’t do it well. When you’re rushing around getting ready for work, you don’t feel like making your bed. But when you make your bed, you start out the day with a win, and this can alter the rest of your day for the better.

  2. Take a cold shower. There are health benefits to cold water, and you’ll save a little bit of money on the utility bill. Get under that stream of cold water and take your normal shower. You’ll be surprised how easy it is after a week or so. If you can stand a cold shower, you can take on the world.

  3. Eat a super healthy breakfast. Decide on the healthiest breakfast that can possibly be created within your budget. Now, eat it every day. The healthiest breakfast is the healthiest breakfast. It’s not just the healthiest breakfast you would enjoy. This is the meal equivalent of a cold shower.

  4. Create a to-do list each day and complete it. Avoid making an endless list of items to complete but create a reasonable list. Don’t allow yourself to go to bed until it’s completed. One night with only three hours of sleep will teach you to take yourself seriously.

  5. Determine your motivation for doing something. One way to stay the course is to understand the value in what you’re doing. Going to your night class might be a drag, but if you remind yourself that you’ll ultimately become a nurse and help people, you’ll have the discipline to keep showing up.

  6. Have a plan for what you’ll do when your discipline falters. Suppose you’re going a party and you want to stick to your diet. Have a plan for what you’ll do when faced with delicious, unhealthy snacks. You might decide that you’ll drink a glass of water or eat the apple that you brought with you but have a plan.

  7. Become a master at finishing. Whatever you start, finish. Get the job done. You might feel like finishing the laundry or writing a book report tomorrow, but get it done today. So many people leave things 10% incomplete. Overcome the urge to put it off and just finish it.

  8. Eliminate temptations and distractions. Why make life harder than it has to be? Temptations and distractions can include ice cream, Facebook, or your cell phone. Discipline is easier to exercise when there are fewer distractions.

  9. Brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss. Poor oral hygiene can be extremely unhealthy. It’s a simple thing with great benefits. It’s also boring. Take care of your mouth each day whether you feel like it or not.

How much more could you achieve if you had more discipline? You know what you want and how to get it. With all the information available today, it’s not hard to figure out how to get what you want. The challenge lies in controlling yourself. It’s making the cold calls or skipping the hot fudge sundaes.

Discipline may be the missing ingredient in your quest for success!

What are some things you would like to be more disciplined about? Please comment below.