I admit it. I am a perfectionist. Or I was anyway. Time and time again, I would start something, only to uncontrollably tweak it to the point of it being unrecognizable.
The work which I had started, doing so to satisfy my creative hunger, would ultimately become something completely separate from me. That’s what perfectionism does. It rids you of feeling. Of the pleasure of doing something you love.
Think of a time when you started something but never finished it for fear of it not being good enough. Fear of inadequacy and perfectionism are brothers in arms. They work together to keep us cowering in the corner. To never experience the fruits of our labour for fear of the world laughing at us.
But the world is not always as we perceive it. There are many who have felt the pangs of perfectionism, and yet the world tends to be supportive towards those who are willing to embrace vulnerability.
To many, perfectionism goes completely unnoticed. You may have experienced its symptoms many times before, but never been completely aware of it.
At its core, it’s a progress killer. Anything that you’ve ever wanted to do? Forget it. Any progress you’ve wanted to make? Not a chance. It will stop you in your tracks and send you running before you’ve ever had a chance to savor your curiosities.
Wanting to improve is never a bad thing. We should certainly seek to better ourselves little by little in whichever way we can. But sometimes we become obsessed by it. We begin to pursue an ideal which doesn’t exist. Not in our world anyway. We are human. And being human means that we fail from time to time.
Whenever I feel any perfectionist tendencies starting to creep in, I simply take a moment. I sit and think about the things that I have done, the progress I have made, and know that despite any imperfections, I have made progress. And that, essentially, is far more important than any tweaking that can ever be done.
Chasing perfection only ever leads to dissatisfaction. We must learn to accept any ‘rusty spots’ that we might have.
After all, these are the elements that make us who we are, and we will always learn much more from making mistakes and embracing our imperfections than we ever will from trying to become infallible.
From now on, make a point to make mistakes from time to time. Notice how it feels. Making mistakes allows you a certain sense of relief that obsession doesn’t. Remember that making progress always comes before perfection. Just aim for good enough. You will thank yourself for it in the long run.
The main point here is simply to take action. Easier said than done, I know. Especially when you’ve spent so long in the shadow of fear. But there really is nothing else to it.
If it’s something you truly care about, allow yourself to shine and let others see you shining. By doing so, we allow others to do the same. After all, passion is contagious.
If up until now you’ve been a victim to perfectionism, today is the day you move forward. We all have to start somewhere and most of the time, we are better than we allow ourselves to believe.
Focus on why you love what you love. How does it make you feel? There is no greater feeling than being in full flow, doing something that resonates entirely with who we are.
The intrinsic joy is far more important than the quality of what we produce. Quality is only ever subjective anyway. We must allow ourselves to sparkle to make the world a brighter place.
From now and onwards, embrace imperfection, and allow the love of what you do to fill you up completely. You have so much more to give to the world than you know.