Chasing Perfection to Achieve Excellence


How the stigma of perfection effects students minds.

Riley Cornell, Writer

In the United States, there is an ideology of perfection many students are expected to conform to because of outside stressors such as parents and teachers. Mounting stress can be gradual, but if students take on too much while pursuing perfection, they can become burnt out and achieve none of the goals they set for themselves. Being burnt out is only one of the many side effects of increased stress on children, and too much stress can be detrimental.

Chasing absolute perfection is futile, but having high standards will benefit you in almost all aspects of your life. If you have high standards and fall short, you will perform much higher than if you did not have high expectations and fall short. 

Every person is unique, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach to every endeavor. Students need to realize their capacity and set goals from there. Goals should be obtainable while still providing challenges to establish personal growth. These goals must also be specific to each person because letting outside influences change goals will only be harmful to the person setting the goals.

 If you set goals that are easy to achieve, you are doing yourself a disservice. According to the United States Department of Education, students need to be challenged in school so they can realize their full potential and put it to use.

“When we do not hold all students to high academic standards, the result can be low achievement and the tragedy of children leaving school without ever having been challenged to fulfill their potential,” stated the report.

The importance of social life can not go unnoticed. In the pursuit of excellence, it can be difficult to take a breath, but if success is to be sustainable, you need to take pauses to connect with others in your community. 

According to, children and teens need breaks to help alleviate stress.

“Short brain breaks during work time have been shown to have real benefits,” according to “They reduce stress, anxiety, and frustration. And they can help kids focus and be more productive.”

Constant work will damage students’ mental health, so breaks are necessary to execute the goals you set and might even help you achieve them with more precision and accuracy.

Head coach and general manager for the Green Bay Packers Vince Lombardi installed hard work and dedication into his players and one of his quotes embodies the importance of working hard to achieve goals. 

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence,” Lombardi said. 

This quote emphasizes the importance of striving for perfection. Every single person should strive to be their best because there is no downside to giving your all. If you don’t give it your all, the only thing you can wonder is what could have happened, but if you give it your all the only question is how far you can go and at times you will fall short, but from this, you can learn your limits and work to expand them.