Story: Sometimes Flawed Can Be More Perfect Than Perfection.

This week’s video story: Sometimes flawed can be more perfect than perfection.


This is one of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood, and I tell another story about the same idea here, about the ballet and wabi-sabi and Glenn Gould. (Wow, that’s an odd combination, now that I think of it.)

That idea is related to another story,  about another Secret of Adulthood that my mother told me, right before my wedding: Sometimes the things that go wrong make the best memories.

The story that I tell comes from Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom.

What do you think? Have you seen any examples where flawed was more perfect than perfection?

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  • ellensclass

    Great! Reblogged on Thanks 🙂

  • Molly

    Cute story!!

  • Doug

    whats funny is that seven is the correct number of tentacles for certain octopi

    Some scientists say octopi only have 2 legs while the others are arms:)–legs-say-scientists.html

    go figure

  • peninith1

    My first bed-sized quilt, made entirely by myself, I made in memory of my friend and quilt teacher Marilyn. She had died after heart transplant surgery, and I made the quilt to make sure I remembered what she had taught me. It was a very simple four-patch design of squares. When I put the top together, I found I had made a rather visible error at the meeting point of four patches. I cut out a heart-shaped piece of fabric and appliqued it over the mistake. That quilt always makes me feel my friend is present with me and is a special memory of a woman whose heart may have failed, but who was one of the most generous and big-hearted people I have known.

  • Malin

    What a wonderful reminder! I’m just reading The Happiness Project now and it’s great to see/hear you speak in this video! It adds another dimension. Thank you for this important book – it’s bringing me back to myself. Blessings!

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for your kind words.

  • BKF

    Thanks, Gretchen, I love the stories! This is so true. There are at least a couple of things in my house which were damaged by my young children. My 2 year old son had found some stick-like toy and run it over my new, beautiful dining table and left scratched circles in one area which had made my heart sink at the time. Now he is ten and I actually look for the scratches when I change the tablecloth or placemats in fond memory of my toddler! If the table had been pristine, it would not be as personally valuable to me. Similar my daughter messed around with a really nice onyx chess set once -which she was not supposed to play with -and one of the pieces broke. My husband glued it together and you can’t tell the damage unless you look for it, but I love the connection I always make with her when we use it.

    It also reminds me of the really valuable coins and stamps which had errors when they were minted or made. (The most valuable stamp in the world, the Swedish Treskilling yellow was supposed to be green but three stamps were printed yellow in 1855. I think one is still around and was worth more than 3 million dollars in 1996- much, much more than it’s conventionally perfect “batchmates”!)

    • gretchenrubin

      What terrific examples!

  • ML

    A little trivia… that song you played is what Hannible Lecter was playing in his cell after he killed two guards in the “cage scene.” 🙂 Sent me right back!

    • gretchenrubin

      Oh man. That wasn’t intentional!

      I do love that movie (The Silence of the Lambs), but not the vibe I was trying to invoke!