The Beauty of Imperfection

I think that many of us operate under the false illusion that we can control everything.

OK, by “many of us” I mean me…and maybe you if you are honest.

One of my resolutions for 2010 is to try and embrace the messiness a bit more.

To be comfortable with the imperfections. To sweat the small stuff a bit less.

I got the following story in an email from my Mom today.

It’s a bit corny, but I think it illustrates the beauty of “cracked pots” and other imperfections that are an inevitable part of life (and perhaps even a hidden treasure).

Here’s how the story goes:

“An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.


One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”

The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?”

“That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.”

“For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.”

I think there is a certain truth in here.

Perfection and control are often not all they are cracked up to be (pun intended).

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
How do you embrace imperfection in life and in work?

3 thoughts on “The Beauty of Imperfection

  1. As an ex-perfectionist, overly concerned with my weight and whether or not I had the latest handbag, I proud to say I am now an imperfectionist. This change came about largely because I went to Duke, where there are lots of seemingly perfect people. These perfect people became my friends and I realized that they’re not so perfect. I also realized that I had a lot of fun with the ones that were able to acknowledge their imperfections and no fun with the ones that were not.

    My new point of view is that perfection is boring and overrated. How can you empathize others if you’re perfect? You can’t. How can you learn if you’re perfect? You can’t. How can you build relationships others if you’re caught up with yourself? You can’t. They say blondes have more fun? I say people who can embrace their imperfections have more fun. They’re happier, have better relationships, and ultimately feel better about themselves. So here’s to imperfection in 2010!

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