Vince Lombardi says “perfect practice, makes perfect”. As much as I love Vince, it’s almost hypocritical to call what he did, perfection. Lombardi failed to win 41 games during his career, great but not perfect. Perfection is a pipe dream, a misquote from ages ago. Perfection is a hoax, and the pressure of those expecting perfection, destroys the motivation of those seeking it.
But we have those, who think they are perfect. They put forth minimal effort, and they feel that a drill or class performed years ago, somehow makes them superior. They do the minimums because they are forced to, relying on war stories of the past, to reassure themselves and others of their dominance. They are not what they used to be. We also have those, who berate and belittle those who try. They call them try-hards, and tell them “they are making everyone else look bad”. No accomplishment is spared, as they continuously spread discontent and resentment of achievements they will never reach. They typically spend their time, at the kitchen table or in their favorite chair, only leaving to see what noise is being made outside, mumbling something pessimistic as they walk back to their throne. Their conversations consist of the problems facing their department, all the while, making no effort to correct them. The only contribution they make to the fire service, is the filling of an empty seat. We also have those who have other commitments, part time jobs, big investments, or are praying for a future outside of our job. There are those among us, who value a day of little work, or are only here for the benefits.
On the flip side, there are just a few of us, who incorrectly think perfection is attainable. Deep down we have a feeling we’ll never reach it, but we still try. We push harder everyday, regardless of the critics, and despite what our gut tells us. We’ll never be perfect or reach perfection, but we always strive for it. That’s as close as we will ever come…….striving for perfection. But that’s all we need. Because, in all of our work, from all of our dedication, and our false hope of perfection, we gain excellence. Excellence comes from the pursuit of perfection, and it’s what our service needs. So keep pushing the limits of what’s acceptable, and continue to change what we define as normal. We’re the last hope. We’re all the future generations have. We’re all our family has. We’re the only thing that carries the honor, and tradition from our predecessors, forward. So, get up, make a difference, and continue to strive for perfection……maybe along the way, we’ll inspire someone else, to be excellent.