Thursday, June 9, 2011

Perfection Standard

I was a perfectionist. I am no longer. If you have seen any of my products, writing, cars, motorcycles, house, how I dress or my overall lifestyle, this is certainly not new news.

How did I get here....from...way......... back................there?

It was something that I think comes naturally from anyone having finally produced an exchangeable product. Anyone who designs will know this concept clearly.

While I was designing and prototyping various motorcycle and automotive products that people and I had brought me (self to self flow, one hat to another here). I began learning as I designed. That learning allowed me, hopefully to design or make a product better, faster, cheaper and easier.
Down this road I began helping someone with building Motorcycle Sidecars. He had his specific way and was not initially open to any suggestons. I listened and did what he wanted in making his designed product.
One day, when paying me for the work, he asked me if I knew of a less costly way to do it. That's when we began to communicate, share and designing in our minds with a mutual objective, not yet determined.

As time went on I acquired the abandoned designs and tooling to make three different motorcycle sidecars from three different original sources.
I first examined how each of these people did things exemplified by their products. I discovered a personal specific talent which allowed me to usually come up with something I felt was better than what currently existed.
Now this is both a blessing and a curse. As friends, sometimes former friends usually will tell you, I did this with them too. As I began to "care" I wanted to impart my "suggestions" that I thought would be of benefit to them.
If I was not careful, my "friends" would make sure not to bring up certain subjects, particularly one called "self improvement" or "self help". I had lots of ideas but they did not come across that way. I would spit them out as if I were talking to myself, no finesse, no diplomacy, no distractions such as compassion or kindness, just data, as fast as I could without really packaging it properly to ensure willing acceptance or duplication.
Of course, in the formative years, I had no idea how I was coming across. I only knew that friends would get angry or sad, become apathetic or attempt to avoid me as I tried to "help" with my suggestions.

While starting the completely unknown and unexpected redesign of the sidecars before even considering any production, I became hooked on the love of designing and of making the first of what I had designed. I wanted it to look and work like I had envisioned and the only way I knew to do that was to make one.
I learned things I never bargained for since I was always on a budget, I did it all myself. Since I was a perfectionist, I had to do each skill to my standards. I found that people watching or hanging around for the pure entertainment value of watching me hit my head HARD against the local walls, OFTEN which apparently was most enjoyable to them.
And so it went that each time I finalized a design and built the item, I immediately came up with better designs, sometimes much better and total complete redesigns which were a better product with better ways to produce the product.
I started to feel the apathy that I had inflicted on myself and my friends. I actually became suicidal in my own mind about being trapped in this sidecar manufacturing idea that I could not get away from. When it's other people's money financing, there is an obligation that I ascribed to. It was, "I will succeed or I will die trying type of attitude".
Interestingly enough, this is when the continuing circular never ending design, make, abandon, design, make, abandon cycle was broken.

A friend dropped in one day and said, while I was in another head bleed from the hard wall that just hit me; "I wonder why GM and Ford come out with new models each year"?
I looked up at him in stunned amazement that this usually intelligent guy could have come down so far as to say something so stupid! I arrogantly replied, "because if they made the perfect car, there would be no more need to make another, they'd all loose money instead of building a continuing profitable marketplace"!
Then I shook my head and started to go back to work.
This friend then said, "yes there's that, or maybe it's because they can't build the perfect car". Something hit me and I looked up, only to find my friend walking away with a slight smile on his face.
I went in and sat down in the office with a thud, as if my body now weighed 3 G's. He was absolutely right. Not only did they not build the perfect car for profit reasons but they didn't because they COULDN'T. It was because, each new model put them through new learning ground, new ways to do things, new ways to look at those new things, new materials, new support products, new understandings about every facet of what goes into building a car in the ways they are.
That entirely pervasive new understanding was then used to build next year's models. Now of course, this is not entirely true. As an aside, no manufacturer will build something today as perfectly as they can. The reasons have to do with economics, the cost of building versus what the product profits will be and other balanced issues.
Even then, with perfection potentially able to be accomplished, the choices based on other constraints will prohibit it.

That was about 40 years ago. A long time has passed and hopefully I have learned one thing. That is what the word STANDARD means. It's such a common word that "everyone" knows what it means, so I don't need to tell you here :-)

My quest for perfection was putting a complete stop in my ability to produce anything. Even my friends were not being produced because I was showing them "perfection". I did this with my female friends and loving relationships as well. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how "receptive" and "successful" that attitude was.
But now I live my life by that word when it comes to my desire for perfection. I know I don't have enough lifetime to be a perfectionist and I would much rather put out a standard product than a non-existent perfect one anytime.

This is a communication attempted with words. It may not match the intent. It will be revised, it will be changed, it is not done and may never be.
2011 © sojournersoul
2011 © currentoccupant
2011 ©
1981 © Tom Pedersen

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