Tuesday, May 18, 2021

This Just In: Nobody's Perfect

Archived from Chapelboro.com. https://chapelboro.com/town-square/this-just-in-nobodys-perfect 

On April 1, Roy Williams had us all going with his retirement announcement. Maybe this was an elaborate April Fools prank, we hoped, but it was quite the opposite. I watched Coach Williams’ press conference and listened intently. He gave himself a platinum-standard performance evaluation and determined that he was not the best person to do a job that he loved for the university that he loves even more.

That takes humility and immense integrity. The more Roy explained the pattern of mistakes that he’d made, the more I admired him. That is a one-in-a-million demonstration of character and leadership.

In sports, we often hear descriptions of “perfection.” When a team goes undefeated all season, they’re said to have a “perfect season.” All wins, no losses. A baseball pitcher that doesn’t allow any batters to reach first base is said to have thrown a “perfect game” (and a no-hitter).

Perfect – yet, if you asked UConn’s Geno Auriemma about a couple of consecutive seasons with no losses and consecutive National Championships, he would gladly tell you that “perfect” is not a term he’d use. Likewise, most major league baseball managers would be able to cite things they could improve on, despite a “perfect” game.

Why is that? It’s because we don’t learn from perfection. Our flaws and failures show us the way to improve. The preamble to our constitution describes our aspiration to forming a more perfect union. When we know better, we do better, but knowing we’re never really done has enormous value. It means we must keep trying, keep challenging ourselves and above all else, keep learning. The struggle continues.

When a coach or a team has fallen short, that’s when great coaches do their best work. They look at the game’s films, they review game stats and they take corrective steps. Smart business leaders do the same things.

If we expect perfection – a flawless record ­– we can find ourselves in a bad place. One example – the “pause” ordered for the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

The FDA ordered this interruption in use of the J&J vaccine not because it was unsafe or even to prevent anyone from developing blood clots, a rare but serious complication with which the vaccine is associated. They ordered the pause because they need for all medical personnel who may treat those rare clots need to be informed about this… blots clots are routinely treated with the anticoagulant drug heparain and the use of this drug can be dangerous in these cases. Once that contraindication is widely known, the use of the one-shot J&J vaccine will resume. (For more information on the CDC’s announcement, click here)

As we’ve all been finding our way through our pandemic lives this past year, I find myself exploring new things and placing new emphasis on not expecting (or seeking) perfection. Never more clear on this point is the fact that I’m learning to paint. Yes, paint.

To be clear, I’ve always painted – I’ve painted every room in my house. When we lived in Durham (in a smaller house) I did that, too, and painted the outside of the house. Just me and ladder, a bucket of paint and a big fat brush. None of these fancy sprayers. Old School.

During the pandemic, it’s been pictures – abstract, impressionist, geometric and collage. I love it. A lot of what I’ve created is just terrible – no kidding. Awful. But I have learned so much from this amazingly relaxing activity, so I have managed to create some pieces that, without irony, hang on the walls of my home. I never knew I had this urge within me, but there it is. And here’s the thing – perfection, even the concept of it, has no place in this creative process. It is the enemy of a creative process whether painting or writing.

Nobody’s perfect, thank goodness.

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