Fasting from Perfectionism (Day 6)
Describing herself as a reformed perfectionist, Charly Haversat advocates for “the pursuit of good enough” in her TED Talk. After defining the Nirvana fallacy and Voltaire’s counterstatement that “perfect is the enemy of the good,” she says:
We could argue “if we all know that perfection is an illusion, then why bother to discuss this at all?” I argue that we think the opposite. We think that perfect is not only possible but probable. And that by fixating on that perfect end–state, we’ve lost our ability to negotiate incremental gains.
After giving examples of superficial ways we pursue perfection, she addresses more critical ways it impacts our world.
[The Nirvana fallacy] is creating cultures where we are afraid to fail… Public policy requires compromise and compromise requires of letting go of perfect… Our political system is becoming increasingly held hostage to small groups who are intent on implementing their version of ideological perfection. This is the Nivana fallacy at its most dangerous and it’s most extreme. Because these groups are so intent on winning that they have a reckless disregard for the impact of their actions…
After describing costly examples of lack of compromise, she asks:
So where do we go from here… We can make a huge step forward by giving our kids a break. The pressures that our children feel from sports pale in comparison to the social and academic pressures they face as they grow up in a globally complex world. If we give our children permission to pursue good enough, we will grow adults who as the future CEOs and political leaders are willing to compromise.
In what way do you see “perfect as the enemy of the good”?
How many political discussions have been abandoned (or never started), because defending one’s position took precedence over seeking workable solutions?
Do you think our world would change if we pursued “good enough” rather than perfection?
In what areas of your own life is compromise required for the greater good?
I Corinthians 8:13
In spite of his belief that food offered to idols is just food, Paul states that he will refrain from eating it for the sake of the greater good, saying:
Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
Let us pray:
Lord God, you call us to do what is right, to hold fast to our beliefs. But we also recognize there are times when compromise is needed for the greater good. Grant us your wisdom in all things, open our eyes to see the value of those with whom we disagree, soften our hearts so that we may hear your calling. We pray in the name of the one who opened the eyes of the blind, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Please contact the church office if you’d like to receive the daily devotions through email.
Tags: devotions, fasting, Lent, perfectionism