Difference Between Excellence and Perfection (With Table)

“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. But the line between Excellence and Perfection is quite blurred, and oftentimes both the words are used in the wrong contexts.

Excellence vs Perfection

The main 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 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. Achieving Excellence in doing something is attainable by someone who has been doing or practicing that particular method for a long time. Thus excellence describes the effort that has been put into doing something.

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. Thus Perfection is used whenever the emphasis is to be given to the results of some task or work.

Comparison Table Between Excellence and Perfection

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 doing something is attainable by someone who has been performing that particular method for a long time. Thus Excellence is sometimes used to define a goal, something that is achieved after a long period of practice and dedication.

Thus Excellence is an attempt at doing something in the best way possible. Excellence is what drives mankind to new endeavors, to conquer new things, to participate in competitions that test the capabilities of the person’s skills.

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 is since the efficiency of doing work will vary between 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 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. Different methods can be used to obtain results.

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

These different methods vary in their closeness to the actual way that the task was supposed to be completed. Thus perfection defines the closeness of the results of a task, to the actual expected results.

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

Thus the phrases “near perfection” and “almost perfect” are more contextually correct than using “perfect” in describing something. Perfection is thus the closeness of something that is performed, to the actual expected results.

Main Differences Between Excellence and Perfection

  1. Excellence is the attempt at performing a task in the best way possible. Perfection is used when the task is completed in that exact correct way
  2. Excellence is the quality of the method in performing a task. Perfection describes the exactness of the way a task is performed, to the actual way that the task was meant to be performed
  3. Excellence is a qualifying factor of the outstanding quality of work. The qualifying factor of perfection is the improvement over the previous attempts
  4. Excellence came into use in the 14th century. The word Perfection became more frequent in the 13th century.
  5. Excellence is derived from the Latin word Excellentia whereas Perfection has Anglo-French roots.

Conclusion

Many words are used to describe the efforts put by an individual to complete a task. The contextual appropriateness of some words is very important when using them.

On the face value, some words may appear to have a similar meaning, but the actual meaning of some phrases may differ at times when used in different contexts.

Excellence is a word used to describe the quality of someone’s work. It qualifies the performance of an individual at doing some task.

Thus it is used when describing the outstanding performance of an individual at something, and where the method of performance is the qualifying aspect.

Perfection is the ideal method of doing something. Thus perfection describes the exactness or the closeness of the way of doing a task, to the actual way in which the task was meant to be performed.

Perfection is thus an abstract quality, which is not actually conceivable by an individual.

References

  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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