When I was in college, I would attend daily Mass at the Dominican House of Studies across from CUA. When someone asked me why I chose the Dominicans instead of a more "hip" group like the Legion of Christ, I didn't have an answer. Years later, I would realize that one odd quality drew me to the 13th century community of brothers: imperfection.
The Legion guys were better dressed, more articulate and seemed to be the up and coming group. The Dominicans? Slightly chubby, somewhat bookish and more than a little bit old fashioned, the Dominicans would have lost the annual volleyball game if outward appearances were all that mattered.
What they did win was my attention.
These guys were real. Imperfect men who strove after God and built a community of strong, masculine believers who welcomed the stranger. I was at home when I joined them each day for prayers.
As for the Legion of Christ? Their founder was outed for having a double life that included an illegitimate child and the possible abuse of seminarians. The community is now reeling and losing members each day. Their obsession with perfection may have been a mask for a deep disconnect with self.
The Productivity Link
Now make the jump from the Dominicans to the world of work. Many times we are imperfect in our productivity. We clean out the inbox one day but not the next. Our project list is accurate on Monday but by Thursday is out of whack. We're on time for a meeting today but late for one tomorrow. Now put a few coworkers around you who have the same bad habits- pretty darn frustrating! What gives?
What gives is our own doggone imperfection. Try as we may, we can only rely on the power of our will so much. What really moves the rock forward is momentum. Habits done over and over that eventually delete the need for choice and push the automatic button. This is mind of mattress material we're talking about.
Turns out imperfection may be an asset after all. It keeps you humble. It might eventually turn you towards God as you realize your own tendencies to habit regression. It also helps each of us appreciate the people we need who are around us.
The bottom line: those who get ahead at work are often not the ones who strive to be perfect. Rather, the ones who realize they are imperfect and accept themselves for it- they are like the Dominicans and make you feel most at home.
*Photo by RickyDavid