Being Perfect…Isn’t Perfect

Being Perfect…Isn’t Perfect

Posted by Ziz Abdur-Ra'oof; December 8, 2013

A female friend of mine is reading the book Being Perfect by Anna Quindlen.

As I read the title of the book, a rush of feelings came over me, none of which are positive. I think the concept “being perfect” is ridiculous. Then again, I must admit the title is brilliant. After all, it did get my attention.

It is no surprise to me that a female author penned that title – Being Perfect. I say this because I have only observed men using that term when it relates to sports – for example, that was a perfect putt or that pass was thrown perfectly over the defender. I recognize that I am generalizing, but men do not use the term perfect in relation to personal aspects of their lives, as women often do.

If you read the book, you‘ll have a better understanding of what I mean. It’s a great read and at less than 70 pages, well worth the investment of time. If you don’t want to read the entire book, read the back cover:

“Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and its good opinion…What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

After reading this paragraph, I found myself immersed in this thought-provoking idea. A particular passage in Quindlen’s book resonated with me:

“Set aside the old traditional notion of female as nurturer and male as leader; set aside, too, the new traditional notion of female as superwoman and male as oppressor. Begin with that most frightening of all things, a clean slate. And then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am.”

If Anna Quindlen were an archer, I would say she hit the bulls-eye. While her primary message is directed toward women, it can be adopted by anyone: “Remember all of yourself, the flaws as well as the many strengths. Pursuing perfection makes you unforgiving of the faults of others.” When you are contemplating changes in your life, it’s imperative to know and understand your “why” so that you can be true to your nature and can be at peace with yourself.

Each day, as you are facing a decision or trying to be perfect, I challenge you to take a moment to ask yourself, “If I make this choice, am I being true to myself?”


Aziz Abdur-Ra’oof is passionate about personal development and seeing people develop and reach their full potential. As a former collegiate and professional athlete, he understands what it takes to succeed at the highest level. Currently, he works in the athletic department of a major university specializing in life skills and career development. You can follow him at @ziz87 or on LinkedIn at