Leveraging Non-Perfection in 2018


While watching my favorite news show this morning*, reporter Faith Salie shared two new terms that inspired her to re-think herself in the new year.  I was compelled to join her.

The first term is…“pentimento,” which I first encountered when I saw a drawing by the artist Henri Matisse.  

As I got closer, I could see that Matisse had sketched over and over and didn’t entirely erase his scribbles. 

A friend explained this is called pentimento, which is Italian for “repent” — to regret, to change your mind. Matisse, a master, left his stumbles for us to see, and the ghosts of his mistakes inspire us to strive not for perfection, but for creation.

The other notion is “kintsugi,” which is the Japanese method of repairing broken ceramics with gold. 

The idea is that the cracks of something are part of its history and should be kept visible, even shiny! It’s the art of embracing damage while making something whole. 

An object becomes more beautiful because of its flaws.

She concludes…

What if we consider kintsugi and pentimento in our New Year’s resolutions? The word itself, “re-solution,” suggests we return to our shortcomings, chronically trying to solve ourselves again and again. But we’ll never be perfect, so perhaps our re-solutions can involve being humble enough to shed light on our cracks — and brave enough to repair them visibly.**

That sounds like a more gracious way to live.

I’m for that.

I invite you to join me.

May it be a saner more gracious new year for all of us.



*CBS Sunday Morning, December 31, 2017.