Excellence vs Perfection: Difference and Comparison

“Excellent” and “Perfect” are two common words that are used while describing the level of effort put into completing a task. These are the most common describing words that are used to describe the work that has been put into doing something.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Excellence prioritizes continuous improvement, whereas perfection seeks an unattainable, flawless state.
  2. Focusing on excellence fosters a growth mindset while striving for perfection can lead to stress and anxiety.
  3. Excellence allows for flexibility and adaptability, while perfectionism demands rigidity and inflexibility.

Excellence vs Perfection

The difference between Excellence and Perfection is that Excellence is used when a task is completed in the best possible way, whereas Perfection is used when something is performed in the right way or the absolutely correct way that the task or the work was meant to be completed.

Excellence vs Perfection

Excellence is used to describe the method that was used to perform something. Thus Excellence is an attempt to perform the task in the best possible way.

Perfection is used whenever a job or a task has been completed precisely the way that it was meant to be completed. The exactness in the ideal and practical results of a task or a job is described by perfection.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonExcellencePerfection
DefinitionExcellence is the method to perform a task in the best way possiblePerfection is when a task is completed in the exact correct way
UsageExcellence describes the particular method that was used to perform a taskPerfection describes the exactness of the way a task is performed, to the way the task was meant to be performed
Qualifying factorThe outstanding feature or quality of workThe improvement over previous attempts
Origin14th Century English13th Century English
EtymologyDerived from Latin ExcellentiaDerived from Anglo-French Perfection

What is Excellence?

Excellence is a describing word that is used to describe the quality of a task or work. It is an attribute given to a performance to qualify the outstanding effort put into the performance.

Achieving excellence in work, studies, and something like a craft is a feat of the individual’s talents and skills. Thus excellence is a factor that qualifies the capabilities of an individual, and thus it is something that can be used to distinguish the individual from the crowd.

As a factor of performance, Excellence can be used more in the context of people, i.e. when comparing person to person, than when comparing machines to people.

This varying efficiency and quality of work determines the excellence in work and will define who is more capable of doing something.

What is Perfection?

Perfection is used when a task is completed most accurately. The exactness of the results obtained after the completion of a task, to the actual results that were expected, defines the degree of perfection.

Thus perfection is the definitive, correct, and exactly right way of doing something. There could be many ways of accomplishing something or doing something.

Thus different methods have their own set of attributes that define the difficulty of doing something and the amount of time that would be required to do that particular task.  

Perfection is something that is inconceivable to a person. Being perfect is an abstract thought and not a reality, and thus it is more of a concept than something that actually qualifies the effort or skills of a person in doing something.


Main Differences Between Excellence and Perfection

  1. Excellence came into use in the 14th century. The word Perfection became more frequent in the 13th century.
  2. Excellence is derived from the Latin word Excellentia whereas Perfection has Anglo-French roots.
Difference Between Excellence and Perfection
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2000-13324-013
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=A6EgfvGp0uYC&oi=fnd&pg=PA403&dq=perfection&ots=jsI0K8Bno2&sig=9MqjG7Jx5nSrobCKnjYzsLeas7s
  3. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fogOTut_xpkC&oi=fnd&pg=PP13&dq=perfection&ots=TmQdScyb1m&sig=KSHi5Om7ayKkRc5hsmaJFzW-oXw

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