Practice Does Not Necessarily Make Perfect

perfect-sax

“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”      —  Albert Camus

There have been times in my life when I’ve needed to take a risk that I’ve been scared to fail. These fears often crop up when trying new things like public speaking, job changes, and, well, the list does go on. My fear of failure often stems from a constant fear of not being good enough. Although perfectionism can drive many people to do great things, it’s this incessant hum of needing to be perfect that rolls around in the back of my brain that has held me back in so many avenues of my life.

I know what you are thinking, at least those of you who know me. Perfectionist? You? When most people think of perfectionists, they often think of high achieving flawless people with type A personalities who can multitask under tremendous pressure, and who always exceed expectations and come out the other side unscathed. They probably do not think of people, like myself, who let things go uncompleted, or often seem to settle for less.

My past is full of opportunities I let go of because not only did I feel I was not good enough, I often felt that I could not get good enough at something fast enough. You see, with some perfectionists like myself, the need to be perfect is so powerful that if the perfection does not come quick enough, we let it go. For example, over the years I have tried to learn the ukulele, the guitar, the harmonica, the recorder, and the saxophone. Although I learned to read some music, and I managed to play a couple of songs, it was never good enough. My perceived lack of musical ability was enough to stop me from continuing.

Although I am still too self-critical, some things have changed. I know most things in life require practice. After all, I’ve been able to succeed at many things that needed practice. Without it, I’d still be eating my food with my fingers and forever tripping because I could not master shoe tying, let alone the ability to walk. All masters need to practice their craft. But mastery does not always equate to perfection because there is always something else to strive towards at the end of a goal.

I have learned that perfection, because it is impossible to attain, should never be the end game. Striving for perfection will most often lead to disappointment, because you will always be chasing an impossible to achieve end. So, don’t seek perfection; strive for doing, because it is in the doing where you will find growth and a healthy sense of accomplishment. You find excellence in the act of doing, the act of practising, and in the act of learning. Practice may not make perfect, but it sure allows you to be more engaged, more focused, more efficient, and, as a side benefit, it makes you a more well-rounded person.

How Not to Make America Great

vimyToday I watched CTV’s homage to the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge in France; it was quite moving. Hearing the stories of injured men and those who died under horrific circumstances was emotional. Learning the stories of men who continued, persevered, and came out victorious in the face of those horrific events was even more incredible. I am not sure I would have had it in me to do the same.

Watching the Vimy Ridge program, sadly, made me think of Donald Trump’s actions of the night before, wherein he authorized a military attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military airbase at the Shayrat airfield. If done, as Trump professes, as a deterrent to Assad’s gas attack against his citizens, then I believe this retaliation is warranted.

One would think, however, that firing no less than 59 missiles would cause significant damage. The images we see of the aftermath tell an entirely different story. The problem is the airfield is still operational. The runways were not hit. In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said, “As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.” There are reports most of the 59 missiles did not hit their targets. I think they must have also taken “extraordinary measures” to avoid hitting anything that would gravely deter the Assad regime.

I also highly doubt that the men and women of the USS Ross and the USS Porter are that incompetent as to miss so many targets. The only way an airfield could survive a retaliation of 59 missiles would be by Trump’s orders. If President Trump collaborated with Russian President, Vladimir Putin to take the heat off of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and Russian’s interference in the election, then President Trump needs to be removed from office as soon as possible.

At first, I was not sure if Trump was sincere in his reasoning behind this missile attack. After all, when Barack Obama was President, Trump hit him with a barrage of tweets in 2012 telling Obama that attacking Syria would be a bad move and that we should just take their oil. Perhaps it is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy that he ended one of his tweets the hurtful insult, “Dumb leaders.” In his defence in not targeting the runways, President and Commander in Chief Donald Trump tweeted, “They are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!”

Seriously? Now, who is the “Dumb leader?

Trump seems to play fast and loose with his military; using them as pawns in his bid to take the heat off his ties with Putin and bolster his standing in the polls. It is bad enough that military personnel must risk their lives as part of their jobs, as they have in wars fought at places like Vimy Ridge. Risking the lives of these brave men and women to win a popularity contest is not the way to make America great.

Money for Nothing

Pay_voteI would hazard a guess that most Canadians would agree that helping a huge multi-national Canadian company survive and remain competitive is good for all Canadians. So, when the government of Canada and the Quebec provincial government bailed out Bombardier with a $372.5-million loan, and $1 billion respectively, it was a bit of a sticker-price shock, but still, it could be substantiated in the eyes of many people. What could not be tolerated, however, were bonuses for the company’s top five executives for poor performance.

I do not understand how executives can even think that they deserve raises after being brought back from the edge of the brink with taxpayer’s money. America’s Wall Street banking executives, who performed so poorly that they almost brought the entire world’s economy to its knees, also decided it was a good idea to hand out millions of dollars in bonuses after a federal bailout. In both these cases, executives cited the need to attract and retain the best executives. If the definition of a great executive is to gouge taxpayers and screw its employees, then the Bombardier top executives have easily come from the same gene cesspool of the greedy “privileged” few that have no concern for anyone below them. Money for nothing is not what a tax-funded bailout is for.

Most employees are lucky if they get an annual raise of two per cent. In the case of Bombardier, it has laid off thousand of workers worldwide to “help turn the company around.” There is no turning anything around when part of the problem is executive greed. It’s no wonder they were having financial difficulties. If private companies like Bombardier want to play fast and loose with their private money, then I would have no issue, but they are playing with taxpayer money. These funds should have come with conditions that include things like “never to be used to increase executive salaries.” What Bombardier and other companies like it are doing is a form of corruption, and should never be allowed under any circumstance.

Many Canadians are going through financial hardship. They have never received a bailout from their government. A bailout would sure help me, and it would not need to be anywhere near the amount doled out to corporate giants. When the average Joe or Josephine has financial difficulties, they cut back, scrimp, and conserve to help make ends meet. Why is it that Bombardier executives do not have to reduce their wages during hard times?

Bombardier executives do not need raises. Deferring these compensation packages to 2020 is not the answer. Cancelling these bonuses altogether is the answer. If you are an executive of any company who finds that living on $1 million per year is not enough, then you and I need to trade places for a year. Living on my pay, would, I am certain, make you better appreciate what it truly means to have to cut back or tighten one’s belt.

Canadians are a friendly bunch; they like to help out in any way they can. If that support, however, goes to line the pockets of the people that need it the least, then those people are no better than corrupt dictatorships that keep financial aid for themselves in the face of despair and financial ruin of their own citizens.