Striving for Perfection


While reading the book “Lessons Learned – Loving your work” ,  I came across this article from Peggy Fleming, who was a Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medallist. 

As a student, I know this is a very difficult value proposition to follow. But read on- we will come to the point.

I quote-

“What that instilled in me was to practice perfection. Every time I skated and had a lesson from my coach, I tried to think of a performance- I tried to think of the crowd. I tried to think of how that pressure would feel. I actually came up with a game that I did at every lesson: I would try to do a perfect lesson.  That made it even more difficult; I didn’t want to make one mistake in the hour I had with my coach. It was fun. I think he respected that to: and it was fun for him to have a student who was giving it her all at a practice. 

What I learned was that practicing perfection, not cheating yourself, is the best way to go through life.

Even today, when I go for a run, I hear that little voice in my head saying, “I have committed to this hour. I am going to keep running the whole time. If I stop, I am cheating, and I’m not getting the benefit out of this. I’m only cheating myself”.

I obviously was very impressed with this article.

And I suspect most of us don’t go on to win gold medals in the Olympics because of this single attitude gap! (maybe there is a talent gap as well – but hey, we don’t know that)

As students, you are very well poised to take advantage of your position to put in that extra effort – every day to make a difference.

From where I stand, I wish I had someone to tell me that at that time (I can see you roll your eyes and say  – that is what my parents tell me all the time Smile) but, it is true.

Instead of doing everything in one lot, start making small changes- everyday.

If there are any questions that you can spend that extra 5 minutes time on so that you are perfect, go do it before you call it a day.

Spend time preparing for your classes before the classes actually happen- and see how much more you get from it. Help your teacher help you get the best out of yourself.  

If you are preparing for exams- this is what you do-

– Ensure that you have everything listed out that you are going to read

– Ensure that you actually spend the time as listed out by you- focusing and giving your 100% studying & preparing

– Move onto the next topic end of the timeline you have set- irrespective of where you are- but make a commitment to come back and finish it completely. 

– Ensure you actually complete all the work without fail.

By following your own guidelines, you build a level of respect for yourself- and set yourself up for a gold medal in the future.

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