Byron's Babbles

Picking Imperfection

Posted in American Pickers, Imperfection, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 2, 2021

While doing some late night channel surfing last night, I came across one of my favorite shows: American Pickers. Can you imagine having Mike Wolfe, Danielle Colby, and Frank Fritz as your history teachers? Talk about making your learning relevant. Also, I love the things they say. On the episode I was watching, Mike Wolfe was looking at a drug store sign and after some imperfections had been pointed out he said, “Perfection is boring!” I love that comment. It is so true. In this sign’s case, the imperfections told the story of its history and gave it character. Kind of like the scar on my left leg where a German Shepard bit me and I had to get 40 stitches. Or, the scar on my right ankle where the lockers fell on me after wrestling practice in the eighth grade. As you can imagine, both of those events have stories.

So let’s think about this on a personal level. No one is perfect. Right? I’m pretty sure that’s right. So why do we expect it. We’d be pretty boring if we were. Can you imagine how much better our workplaces, homes, relationships and lives would be if we gave ourselves permission to let go of this impossible ideal of perfection? If you think about it, we are directly created by our struggle. At the level of our own motivation, we are driven by our imperfect knowledge to understand and engage in the world around us. Our curiosity is spurred by our own imperfect comprehension.

Imperfection translates into depth of character. This is true no matter what we are talking about. When you look at our John Deere Gator you would see many imperfections. I see dozens of stories from my son growing up driving, dinging, and wrecking that Gator. And…I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I still say Mike Wolfe is going to pull in someday and offer me $50,000 for it because it has patina all the stories it has. There’s my crazy, it’s not for sale number, Mike! So,we can either try to be the perfect we see in others, or choose to be a little messy and create our own rules and go accomplish big things. Let’s embrace our imperfections and not be boring.


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