Chapter EightDON’T COMPROMISE; OPTIMIZE!

His son was off at school, and Philip Stanhope, better known as Lord Chesterfield, an eighteenth-century British statesman, sent him a series of letters whose wit and wisdom have stood the test of time. This is one of my favorites of his advice: “Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.”

As Lord Chesterfield suggests, there are two basic ways of thinking about perfection. Either it is the absolute best that anyone or anything is or could possibly be, or it is that which most closely approaches that state at any given moment. ...

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