Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and in its good opinion. But at one level it’s too hard, and at another, it’s too cheap and easy. Because all it really requires of you, mainly, is to read the zeitgeist of wherever and whenever you happen to be and to assume the masks necessary to be the best at whatever the zeitgeist dictates or requires. Those requirements shape-shift, sure, but when you’re clever you can read them and come up with the imitation necessary.
But nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations. What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
Anna Quindlen, Being Perfect