As my friend Lauren and I paddled in the ocean, she said, "I want to show you something. Grab my wrist." She squeezed my wrist tightly and after a few twists and pulls, I escaped her grasp. She then asked to try again. This time I had trouble escaping. The only thing she changed was a looser grip.
Wait! Why was it harder to escape the loose grip? My mind flooded with imagery: over-tightening a screw, over-extending a tension pole, hyper-extending a knee in asana, loosing balance on a surfboard, over-tensing traps during a pull up, working out to the point of exhaustion, drinking too much, over-adorning an outfit with accessories, listening to someone blabber, studying the effort curve in Ergonomics. In sum, all instances exemplified "over-X," extreme behavior, or excess.
In that moment floating on calm ocean water, I felt and understood the idea of working too intensely versus easing up. The experience further solidified a mindfulness to work intelligently and not "hard."
Shortly after this day, while spending time with another friend whom I deeply admire and is married to a famous athlete, I asked "What makes you two great? What is your secret?" She said, "this sounds simple, but really we just follow every path that comes easily..."
There is no perfect. If there is, the state is momentary. Replace 110% with ease and grace.