Is it possible for us humans to eliminate all of our flaws and live as perfect beings for the rest of our lives? Of course not.
When we look at great people like Buddha, Marcus Aurelius, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela, not only do we get inspired, but we also feel discomfort within us. We think they’re cut from a different cloth — they knew what was right to do and had the courage to do it without thinking about the stakes.
We feel intimidated by their magnanimous lives and dismiss the fact that we can ever live by their standards and their philosophies. Their lives and personas seem far-fetched and although we feel inspired, we also feel discouraged. But the truth is they are not much different from us. Their mightiness overshadows the fact that they weren’t perfect beings either and there were times when they didn’t live up to their own standards as well.
The same holds true for personal development and any philosophy, whether it be Karma Yoga, Stoicism, Essentialism or Minimalism. They are all idealistic in nature and that’s why it’s absurd to even think we can become the exact embodiment of the teachings considering the flaws that we all humans have.
The problem lies when we try to perform monumental acts of virtue; this is a wrong approach to have. Instead, we just need to focus on engaging in little, consistent actions of goodness and kindness. Whenever an opportunity shows up, we can simply try to be a little better. As we stay on the course, over time via the compound effect, not only we’ll be able to make a significant difference in the world, but we’ll also bring a remarkable transformation in ourselves. As the Tanzanian proverb goes, “Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”