Perfection is proclaimed when the eye of the beholder is unable to detect a flaw. Once detected, the proclamation is withdrawn. The very act of correcting what appears to be imperfect, thereby achieving what we once again, only momentarily, judge to be perfect, builds within us an even greater ability to find more flaws. And on and on it goes; capturing, then losing what appears to be unblemished. This leads to a perpetual state of anxiety and frustration as we strive for something that can't really be attained. But once we discover that perfection is a process rather than a destination, we are able to fearlessly and joyfully participate in life by falling down and getting up with the rest of the world.

Perfectionists are mostly found at the starting line, very rarely mid-point in the race, and never at the finish line. Waiting to become perfect before participating in life, ironically guarantees failure. Life should resemble a well read book - a bit torn and tattered with a flexible spine, numerous margin notes, highlighted passages, dog-eared pages, and perhaps a few food and wine stains. An unopened, unsullied book, pretentiously sitting on the shelf, is not a book at all.

Perfectionists tend to be tentative, constantly monitoring their every move, making sure that there are no mistakes. However, by doing so, they lose the spontaneous, kinetic flow of life. It is in this flow that the "magic" takes place. It is here that we discover what we are really capable of achieving. This is what the perfectionist, meticulously and neurotically tries to "make" happen, instead of simply "let" happen. Although our actions should be free and spontaneous, they must also be guided by reason, yet not paralyzed by fear or apprehension.

Perfection is a futile endeavor because it is not within our reach. Pursuing excellence, however, is worthy of our efforts. It allows for, and even demands the bumps and bruises that must be incurred if we are ever going to evolve. Where perfection is suggestive of other worldliness and divinity, excellence is symbolic of what mortal man, right here on earth, can, by his own design, achieve and become.

Give up the notion of being perfect. There's no meaning in it. It's the end of the road. Conceptually, there's nothing more to aspire to. Perhaps, that’s why we aspire to it. Instead, focus on living effectively. Know the universe you inhabit. Learn its laws. Obey them. Command them. To ask the right question is to set in motion the right cause so you can receive the right effect, which is the right answer. Know what you are asking for because you're going to get it! Embedded in every cause is an effect, and in every question an answer.

When our self-worth is tied up in being perfect, we have a tragedy in the making. Because perfection is an illusion, never to be attained, so goes our self-esteem. We constantly sacrifice effective participation in life to the fruitless attempt at becoming perfect. Happiness depends upon the achievement of one's highest values. If perfection is your highest value, take some time to understand what this really means and learn how to become perfectly effective by persistently pursuing excellence and giving up the unrealistic and never ending quest for perfection.

As a natural health consultant for over 25 years Mark Houllif has been teaching the scientific principles of health promotion. The goal is to guide the individual back to health using natural and nutritonal methods. By removing the causes of disease and establishing conditions of health we allow the body to most powerfully manifest its natural healing tendencies.