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For January 2012

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I suggest you use imperfection as your teacher. Since perfection doesn’t exist except as a concept, you need to put to good use the things you perceive as “wrong” with yourself. What’s interesting is that what you perceive as being a problem and what you perceive as being your best assets may be very close together, so close that they are inseparable. You may notice, for example, what is “imperfect” about your body just as you notice your own beauty. You might observe that you’re in good health but before you have time to appreciate that, you may be annoyed by the one or two persistent problems you have—and the negative can have a way of dominating the discussion. It’s like the small issue gets your attention and obscures your perception of everything else. Obviously, this is not the way to make progress, especially if you want to develop your talents, be of service, and feel better about yourself—all things that are eminently possible right now. You’re being challenged to work with a functional standard of quality and monitor your judgments of what is good and what is not (especially about yourself). Yet most significantly, you need to develop a sense of perspective. Perfection may not be a value, but improvement certainly is a useful one. I often think of what my old friend Melinda scrawled into my high school yearbook: Someone is not a true artist until they can see the flaws in their own work.

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  • November 22-December 22


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