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Quotations about Perfection

Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.
~Harriet Braiker
Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks.
No one is perfect... that's why pencils have erasers.
~Author Unknown
Nothing that is complete breathes.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.
~John Henry Newman
Ring the bells that still can ringForget your perfect offering.There is a crack in everything,That's how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen
To escape criticism - do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
~Elbert Hubbard
Only in grammar can you be more than perfect.
~William Safire
Sometimes... when you hold out for everything, you walk away with nothing.
~From the television show Ally McBeal
Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.
~Henry van Dyke
Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny.
~Carl Schurz, address, Faneuil Hall, Boston, 1859
Gold cannot be pure, and people cannot be perfect.
~Chinese Proverb
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
~Confucius, Analects
The most difficult part of attaining perfection is finding something to do for an encore.
~Author Unknown
When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target.
~George Fisher
Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence.
~Rosalynn Carter
There are no perfect men in this world, only perfect intentions.
~Pen Densham, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
The imperfections of a man, his frailties, his faults, are just as important as his virtues. You can't separate them. They're wedded.
~Henry Miller
Does "anal-retentive" have a hyphen?
~Alison Bechdel, 1990 Dykes to Watch Out For calendar (Thanks, Chelsea)
The human story does not always unfold like a mathematical calculation on the principle that two and two make four. Sometimes in life they make five or minus three; and sometimes the blackboard topples down in the middle of the sum and leaves the class in disorder and the pedagogue with a black eye.
~Winston Churchill
The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.
~Stanley J. Randall
They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds.
~Wilt Chamberlain
Always live up to your standards - by lowering them, if necessary.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
He who hath not a dram of folly in his mixture hath pounds of much worse matter in his composition.
~Charles Lamb
Even the best needles are not sharp at both ends.
~Chinese Proverb
Bachelors' wives and old maids' children are always perfect.
~Nicholas Chamfort
The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.
~Matthew Arnold
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Player Piano
Unless I accept my faults I will most certainly doubt my virtues.
~Hugh Prather
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.
~William Shakespeare, King Lear, 1605
Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.
~Salvador Dali
All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.
~William Faulkner
A good garden may have some weeds.
~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732
Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.
~Vince Lombardi
I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being.
~Anatole France (Jacques Anatole François Thibault), The Garden of Epicurus, 1894
Congratulations! You're not perfect! It's ridiculous to want to be perfect anyway. But then, everybody's ridiculous sometimes, except perfect people. You know what perfect is? Perfect is not eating or drinking or talking or moving a muscle or making even the teensiest mistake. Perfect is never doing anything wrong - which means never doing anything at all. Perfect is boring! So you're not perfect! Wonderful! Have fun! Eat things that give you bad breath! Trip over your own shoelaces! Laugh! Let somebody else laugh at you! Perfect people never do any of those things. All they do is sit around and sip weak tea and think about how perfect they are. But they're really not one-hundred-percent perfect anyway. You should see them when they get the hiccups! Phooey! Who needs 'em? You can drink pickle juice and imitate gorillas and do silly dances and sing stupid songs and wear funny hats and be as imperfect as you please and still be a good person. Good people are hard to find nowadays. And they're a lot more fun than perfect people any day of the week.
~Stephen Manes, Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!
He that will have a perfect brother must resign himself to remain brotherless.
~Italian Proverb
You see, when weaving a blanket, an Indian woman leaves a flaw in the weaving of that blanket to let the soul out.
~Martha Graham
One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.
~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
When nobody around you seems to measure up, it's time to check your yardstick.
~Bill Lemley
Living up to ideals is like doing everyday work with your Sunday clothes on.
~Ed Howe
Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways.
~Samuel McChord Crothers