I spent this weekend in the mountains.

It may sound strange but I get a lot of work done in the hills.  Ideas for pieces of music and writing; revelations about love, life, truth and beauty – you name it – they all seem to come more easily than when I’m staying in the city.

I guess it could be the silence or the wide open spaces; it could be the change in environment or the result of a more primal mode of living.  Hell, it could be divine intervention for all I know.

Whatever the reason, I always have a notebook ready.

This micro-blog is one of my favorite captures from my time away:

A long time ago I heard a definition of perfection that has stayed with me:

‘Perfection is: when nothing can be added to make something better, and nothing can be taken away without making it worse.’

Whilst I was walking in the mountains I realized that, if you take this definition as true then your life in the moment is perfect to the degree in which you: let go of wanting anything more (nothing added can make it better) and accept fully what is (in which case nothing can be taken away without subtracting from it).

The thing that really set my mind on fire about this was: those are both things which are unequivocally within our conscious control.

Perfection then becomes not: external, arbitrary, or absolute; but instead: a conscious choice of degree.

Want to engender more perfection in your life?

Choose it.


Did you like this?

If you enjoyed this you may also like: my love letter to the mountains of Scotland, my essay about one of the most useful things that Theodore Roosevelt ever said, or my recent post on how to find beauty, even in the darkest of places.

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158 thoughts on “ Perfection (And Where To Find It) ”

  1. 1. When every I read your posts I always read them in a Scottish accent. Is that weird?

    2.Admittedly I have reread this particular article of yours a couple of times myself. Every time I do I try to imagine how you were feeling what you were thinking and what you were seeing through your eyes Maybe were sitting dowm on a craggy little rock somewhere scribing away to your heart’scontent. Then I listened to your music and I can hear it, everything. Perfection.

    3. Talking of perfection this year I grew my first ever strawberries. They weren’t pretty but they were perfect. I’m a little bit excited about my strawberries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1) Totally not weird. I’ll allow it ;-)
      2) Walking with a heavy pack in the snow, then stopping to write, then walking again. Many times.
      3) I am now excited about strawberries too. I live in Edinburgh, and accept gifts by mail.


      1. You can get a little alpaca. We’ve got plenty around and I don’t think the strawberries would make it to Edinburgh in tact. Sorry!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Never thought there could be a different way for describing perfection. It does give you something to think about when your whole life you’ve learned it differently. The things we learn as days go by….. Thanks James.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed your post. And I never heard that definition of perfection before. It actually caused me to review and take a gander at the definition I know,which is perfect is something without flaws. But who determine what is a flaw and what isn’t. I opt for the definition in your post. Everyday we learn something and today I learned perfection is within my reach. And that is an idea worth exploring.

    Liked by 1 person

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