Perfection and Success: A Story of Cut Hands and Dreams Smashed


At 11:23 in the morning, a young girl who has only ever cooked eggs and rice in her life was in the kitchen with the stove top on. She was chopping an onion, preparing for her younger sister’s meal when she accidentally sliced her finger. As she ran around looking for Band Aids, she heard her uncle laughing in the living room. It was the kind of laugh that was three-quarters snort and a quarter derision.

“If you can’t even chop onions without hurting yourself, you’ll never be cut out as a chef.”

Now, the girl never thought she would ever be a Michelin-star cook. She has never even aspired to run her own restaurant. But those words still cut through her heart and crushed her.


I’m telling you this story for a reason. And I hope by now you get it.

We all have that one person in our lives, that young girl’s uncle. Someone who aces at being a Jamie Raincloud. A put-downer. A positivity vampire (you know, someone who sucks the positivity out of you).

And sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if what they’re saying is actually a big deal to you or not. You would still be hurt.

And as much as I want to explore that complicated area of feeling hurt on things that ultimately don’t matter, I want to take a rain check on that for now.

What I really want to focus here is that subtle nag at perfection and success the uncle in the story did. It’s like he was saying that the young girl, who has barely cooked a meal in her life, cannot be a chef just because she hurt herself in the middle of cooking. That someone completely novice can’t become a master all because of committing one common mistake.

Now, as an avid fan of Masterchef Australia for the past couple years, I think that’s loaded bullcrap.

I know for a fact that even home cooks, those people who are passionate about food and cooking, can hurt themselves in the middle of a panicky situation. Those well-renowned chefs only seem effortlessly perfect and successful in the kitchen now because of all the mistakes and little injuries they got early on in their careers. Mistakes that, well, they learned from. Their so-called perfection and success are only achievable by learning through their failures.

See, we all make tiny mistakes.

To say that one tiny mistake can cost you your success or your career or your entire life is utterly foolish. Click To Tweet

For years, I’ve had this voice whispering to me, my very own inner negative uncle. That perfectionist, positivity vampire telling me every tiny mistake I’ve done is pushing me farther and farther from perfection and success. I guess, these voices contributed to the anxious-filled, overthinking perfectionist that I have become.

Just last month, I was on my way to my first ever job interview. And I forgot to bring any valid I.D. to get inside the building. All throughout the bus ride, I kept thinking how I have screwed things up. They’re never gonna interview me because I’m incompetent. The HR of the company will whisper it throughout all the HR of all other companies in the city. No one will hire me. And so, I am an utter failure.

All these thoughts… because I left my I.D.

But see here’s the thing: I am still here. I’m still alive. And little by little, I’m moving forward. Making progress and achieving small successes.

Related: My Two Cents on Failure and How I Dealt With It

We, as a society, have reached a point where we condemn or ridicule every mundane mistake a person has made. And to be honest, it’s not a great time to be in. We can be so hung up on the smallest details and the tiniest flaws. So much so, that we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

And I’m not saying mistakes are great. They aren’t, obviously. Mistakes suck balls. But judging someone’s character based on the mistakes they did is a bit… unfair, don’t you think?

So if you’re like me, beating yourself over every small mistakes you commit, here’s a reminder:

No one should ever be measured by the mistakes they did. Your failures cannot measure what you are worth. And it should never. Click To Tweet

It’s how you respond after such failures that matters more. Be it changing for the better. Or striving for improvement and progress, whatever that may be for you.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

How do YOU define perfection and success? Have you ever had a non-dream be shattered before? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments!

Kate xx

Photo from Lucas Swinden via Unsplash

10 Replies to “Perfection and Success: A Story of Cut Hands and Dreams Smashed”

  1. Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! Thank you for this post

  2. Really love what you’ve shared Kate, keep up the wisdom!
    I think success is definitely hard to define, I know my go to method mostly consists of grades and traditional achievements but that can a dangerous path to go down if you don’t let yourself feel successful for other tasks.
    My parents, from a young age, have always instilled in me that I have to try my best, and whilst that nicely results in achievement for the most part, I’ve gradually come to accept that it’s definitely not always a case and that no matter how you define success you have to be okay with when you’ve worked for doesn’t come to fruition and use that as motivation for next time!

    1. So true! Sometimes you can be trying your damned best but then things just don’t go the way you thought they would. And sometimes all you can do is carry the lessons you’ve learned for next time 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Debbie!

  3. Another wonderful, inspiring post as always, Kate! <3 You honestly shared this post at such a great time for me, since I've been feeling really down on myself these past few days. I recently made a silly mistake, and it's literally been keeping me awake at night for days! I just need to make sure I view this mess-up as a learning experience, and know that I can only improve from here! Thanks again for sharing, love!

    1. I know how that feels, Kelly! Most times, it doesn’t even matter if it was trivial, mistakes can make you feel awful for days. I’m glad this gave you that little push to move forward from your mistake and a small reminder that this does not make you any less awesome <3 Massive hugs!

  4. This is so wonderfully written! Perfection and success are something I struggle with everyday. I’m such a perfectionist that often times I self-sabotage and end up disappointing myself and therefore not succeeding (even when I want to). I thought I had a healthy view on perfection and success but apparently not. I’m slowly (very slowly) pulling myself out of that mindset but there are lots of relapses and setbacks. I do know now though that failing is part of life. You must learn from your failures and then move on!

    1. I understand this deeply, Eve. I’m such a perfectionist myself and while I don’t really believe there’s a “recovering” from that, I know that accompanying our perfectionist tendencies with a healthier mindset (like thinking, “Finished is Better than Perfect”) can be immensely helpful already. Please know that I’m cheering you on as you gradually pull out of that mindset <3

  5. YES Kate! I love how you illustrated this. I totally got the point after reading the first two paragraphs or so. It’s so easy to doom ourselves through one mistake isn’t it?! We have to rewire our brains not to do that. Others don’t help as it is! But we have to let our positive qualities and strengths shine through. Such small mistakes can cost me my sleep sometimes because I think it’s the end of the world but in reality probably nobody cares. Such a great post girl! <3

    1. Exactly! We’ve kind of adopted the “do or die” mindset too much in our lives that we automatically think, we either succeed or we fail and if we fail, we can’t ever do it again. Which is preposterous! Mistakes, especially small ones, are typical– we can’t ever avoid them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Geraldine!

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