Perfection is not the Goal

Jun 8, 2019 | Our Project

Perfection is not the goal of my Family Footprint Project and I hope it is not the goal of yours either. I want to talk about perfection because I think it is unhelpful, in our Family Footprint Project efforts, to aim for some perfect state or result.

Perfection is paralysing

The danger in aiming for perfection is that, because perfection is actually unattainable, we set ourselves up to fail right from the beginning. When we know we will fail, our natural tendency is to not even start.

Plus, seeking perfection, often leads to choice paralysis because we do not truly know what the ‘perfect’ choice is until we actually give things a go. We can’t make a decision and so we don’t take action.

We need action

What we need, what our planet needs, is action not paralysis.

There is a quote doing the rounds on social media which hits this nail right on the head.

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

Anne-Marie Bonneau

Making this quote more general, I would say, “We don’t need a handful of people living perfectly eco-friendly lives. We need millions of people working every day to reduce their carbon footprint.” Yeah, it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it? I guess internet fame is still a way off for me!

What I’m saying, though, is that the goal of our Family Footprint Projects is not to reduce our environmental footprint to zero. It is not about being ‘zero’ waste. It’s not about living off the grid in a self-sufficient commune in a yurt. Perfection is not the goal.

And it is not about living a life on higher moral ground.

It is, however, about striving to do things differently – with treading more softly on our Earth as our focus. It is a constant process of refinement, of trying and failing and trying again. It is about finding better habits that we can sustain in the long term.

Imperfect action is OK

In our attempts to live a more eco-friendly existence, we will try things that do not work – even if they work for other people. Some (many!) of our attempts will only get us part of the outcome we seek. But these ‘failures’ are part of trying. Doing something that doesn’t work out as planned but, from the experience, learning a better way is strides ahead of not trying at all.

And, in the end, we want people to try. We want millions of people to try and reduce the amount of waste in their bins, their unnecessary consumption, their carbon footprint.

Climate change rally with people holding There is no planet B signs
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Be kind on yourself

But I also want you to be kind on yourself. My way is not your way, is not the way of some prominent ‘zero waste’ advocate. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of our impact on the Earth. I just want everyone to be more conscious of the impact their lives are having and to take action with protecting the environment as a central consideration in their decision making.

I’d love to spread the word about the Family Footprint Project so we can get millions of people involved. And I’d love your help. Please share the Family Footprint Project blog and social media posts with your friends and family. Let’s all work together, imperfectly, to save our planet.

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