Imperfection means perfection hid.
—Robert Browning (1812–89) English Poet
If you expect perfection from people your whole life is a series of disappointments, grumblings and complaints. If, on the contrary, you pitch your expectations low, taking folks as the inefficient creatures which they are, you are frequently surprised by having them perform better than you had hoped.
—Bruce Fairchild Barton (1886–1967) American Author, Advertising Executive, Politician
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 (1891–1980) American Novelist
One must not hold one’s self so divine as to be unwilling occasionally to make improvements in one’s creations.
—Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) German Composer, Musician
Easy is right. Begin right, and you will be easy. Continue easy and you are right… The right way to go easy is to forget the right way, and forget that the going is easy.
—Zhuang Zhou (c.369–c.286 BCE) Chinese Taoist Philosopher
No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
All of us have failed to reach our dream of perfection, so I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
—William Faulkner (1897–1962) American Novelist
Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null, dead perfection; no more.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–92) British Poet
Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.
—Salvador Dali (1904–89) Spanish Painter
Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
A perfect poem is impossible. Once it has been written, the world would end.
—Robert Ranke Graves (1895–1985) English Poet, Novelist, Critic, Classical Scholar
Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.
—Vince Lombardi, Jr. (1913–70) American Football Player, Coach
Of all the young men in America only a few hundred can get into major league baseball, and of these only a handful in a decade can get into the Hall of Fame. So it goes in all human activity … Some become multimillionaires and chairmen of the board, and some of us must be content to play baseball at company picnics or manage a credit union without pay.
—William Feather (1889–1981) American Publisher, Author
The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement.
—George Will (b.1941) American Columnist, Journalist, Writer
Perfect order is the forerunner of perfect horror.
—Carlos Fuentes (1928–2012) Mexican Novelist, Diplomat
Imperfections are the essence of evolution.
The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
The intellect of man is forced to choose perfection of the life, or of the work, and if it take the second must refuse a heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
—William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) Irish Poet, Dramatist
Every man has his follies—and often they are the most interesting thing he has got.
—Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–85) American Humorist, Author, Lecturer
Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–44) French Novelist, Aviator
Perfection is no more a requisite to art than to heroes.
—Ned Rorem (b.1923) American Composer, Diarist
If you’re looking for perfection, look in the mirror. If you find it there, expect it elsewhere.
—Malcolm S. Forbes (1919–1990) American Publisher, Businessperson
Set your ideal as near to perfection as your imagination is capable of forming the conception.
—Wallace Wattles (1860–1911) American New Thought Author
Nothing would be done at all if one waited until one could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.
—John Henry Newman (1801–90) British Theologian, Poet
Once we know our weaknesses they cease to do us any harm.
—Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–99) German Philosopher, Physicist
To talk about the need for perfection in man is to talk about the need for another species.
—Norman Cousins (1915–90) American Journalist, Author, Academic, Activist
Be intent on the perfection of the present day.
—William Law (1686–1761) English Clergyman
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 (1894–1991) American Choreographer
Measure not by the scale of perfection the meager product of reality.
—Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) German Poet, Dramatist
Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. Neglect nothing; the most trivial action may be performed to God.
—Marie Angelique Arnauld (1591–1661) French Jansenist Nun