Abhishek Parolkar writes that flawlessness is not about perfection, its about how complete can you become after accepting reality. He offers this amazing video that illustrates this idea:
It reminds me of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks where he tells stories from his clinical practice about people with severe mental disabilities. His focus is not really on their disabilities, but on other abilities which allow them to compensate and actually excel in a very different way.
Mastery is an important skill. In my field of software development, I believe that the most important skill is the ability to learn. It is something that is hard to assess in an interview, but you can see it clearly when you work with someone for a while. In the past two years, I moved outside of my comfort zone, into new tech and then stepping into a full time role leading a new business. I realize that I’ve become accustomed to the sharp pain of reflecting on a recent failure. It is like muscle pain when I’m working out — a real part of the process. Randy Nelson says that “the core skill of innovators is error-recovery, not failure avoidance.” I’ve seen this in action repeatedly with the RailsBridge workshops. When I’m trying to make something happen, I try to focus on the big goal, that intangible thing which is not the event or the deal. Whatever it is, that goal cares little about errors along the way, as long as we can repair them quickly enough that relationships aren’t damaged, and sometimes the error doesn’t matter at all. I recently read the Done Manifesto (via @ianchia) which speaks to the same concept in a different way. As noted by @sftwrexperiment, we learn and adapt. Sometimes I feel like my whole life has been spent practicing for this moment.