“Nobody’s perfect…everyone makes mistakes…we’re just human”. I’m sure most of us have heard of this expression, one version or another. And it’s quite true, but it’s not usually used to point out the obvious human condition of imperfection, but rather, it’s used as a petty excuse, an excuse for a negative issue or quality that is revealed. Every time I hear a version of “oh well…no one’s perfect”, especially when a person errs on a certain undertaking, I cringe. Why do people blame a human quality, a quality they cannot change, the quality of imperfection, for most of the errors they commit? As infants, we have the tendency of passing our error onto exterior factors or persons so we can escape punishment, blame or guilt. Haven’t we outgrown this childish tendency? Is not acknowledging our imperfection as an excuse for our errors the same? Yes it is. Unfortunately, that’s what we have been doing for the past millennia. Every time an error is committed, the first thought is “It’s not my fault…it’s because he/she/they/it…blah blah blah”, instead of “I made a mistake, I should learn from it”. In fact, a mistake is not a mistake, it’s a lesson”. Putting the blame on our imperfection, for our errors is like blaming gravity for breaking your grandmother’s priceless vase instead of accepting the fact, and the punishment, that it broke because you were juggling it like some circus clown. We humans are NOT predestined to be failures because of our inherited imperfection. We have that instinct to be the best that we can be, to attain our full potential. Every time we strive to do our best is another step up…but every single time we excuse our errors as a part of “being human”, we go two steps down.
You may feel that excusing yourself on occasion is OK, like when you accidentally spill hot coffee on your boss, not flushing the toilet after burrito night, leaving the gas stove open, forgetting that one formula for your math exam, or ruining your diet with two dozen glazed doughnuts…you’d probably just smirk, “To err is human right?…right boss (or wife, or burned-down house, or professor, or health trainer)?” And they might…might…forgive you for it. But let’s go a little extreme here. How would you feel if a soldier was playing around with some missile controls and accidently launched a 500-megaton bomb straight for your little bungalow? Would you be gracious enough to forgive his “imperfection” when he calls and says “dude…my bad…the thing about being human right?…hehe…sorry bout yar house and all…” or would you strangle him till he turns into a smurf? OR how about someone who brings down an already-down economy by holding up a tourist bus and taking hostages while saying “I just want my job back…I know I’ve made mistakes…but…”? The point is, we may be human, and yes, we will commit mistakes every once in a while, some are excusable and forgivable, BUT most are certainly AVOIDABLE.
This reminds me of a “Major, Major” topic recently…
More than half the world has seen our esteemed Ms. Philippines, Maria Venus Bayonito Raj. And her very “catchy” answer to the Q&A portion of Ms. Universe has spread like the plague, with new remixes on youtube every 5 seconds. This emphasis on her rather nervous and obvious tense answer gave birth to three usual reactions…first, my personal favorite, Horrendous Hilarity…second, shame and revolt…and third would be those who would come to her defense. And what do the third usually say? “C’mon guys, she was nervous and tense! Besides, everyone makes mistakes…no one’s perfect”. Unexcusable. Why? These girls had months of rehearsals…months of practice, sure there was a lot of stage fright, but this was not some grade school play. It’s the Ms. Universe pageant. If people are going to insist that stage fright and nervousness are to blame, then they are actually putting Venus down for not being answering as calm and collected like the other contestants during the Q&A. Others would say that the language was major (major) barrier. Maybe you didn’t see the heavenly beautiful Ms. Ukraine. She had an interpreter, so she spoke straight Ukrainian and her answers were wonderfully conveyed by that interpreter, so language is not an excuse. So let’s get a recap…
Actor William Baldwin asked Venus, “What is one big mistake that you made in your life and what did you do to make it right?”
“You know what, Sir, in my 22 years of existence, I can say that there’s nothing major major problem that I’ve done in my life because I’m very confident with my family, with the love that they are giving to me. So thank you so much that I’m here. Thank you, thank you so much!”
So besides the apparent grammar mistake, her answer, well, was not an answer at all. It was nonsensical. If you look at the video closely, you might even spot some nose bleeding as she nervously tried to end her Q&A as fast as she can. But seriously now, I’m not being a cynic…more like a constructive critic. She surely could’ve done better. Some of the judges have made that comment and even Donald Trump was surprised why she didn’t go further then 5th place. She could have cited her problems of attaining a passport and winning back her crown for the Binibining Pilipinas title. And if delivered properly, she might have reached the top 3 or even the crown.
Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. ~Harriet Braiker