Perfect is a word I use to often.
Who is perfect? What is perfect? Where is perfect?
Nothing is ever perfect and yet we strain ourselves constantly in this fruitless quest. I was guilty of this. Always striving to create the perfect everything and it is exhausting. Perfectionism is a bit of a fool’s game and those who play set themselves up for disaster. A lack of confidence, a feeling of discontent and perennial dissatisfaction are only some of the downsides.
Our best selves do not need to be perfect.
That doesn’t mean to say, near enough is good enough; doing our very best is everything. It doesn’t need to break us or depress us; trying to be the best version of us should be uplifting and create happiness. Once the unattainable idea of “perfect” interferes, trouble starts.
Some are perfectionists and some aren’t.
I have always believed it is a bit of a curse. Yes, it can lead to massive creativity and great levels of achievement but that standard of self-expectation is tough. Nothing ever eventuates as you imagined and a job is never done.
It’s a hard habit to break.
My Better Not Younger philosophy has helped me think this through.
Aging in the most fortunate case is not something we escape and it does have challenges; it is foolish to pretend otherwise. I want to turn the challenges into positives, into advantages. Focusing on what I can do in a real sense is very important while at the same time maintaining an active and healthy appetite for those challenges.
Trying to be perfect is not going to cut it anymore. It is a thankless pursuit. I do not want to encourage laziness or lack of adventure and spirit – far from it – but I do want to take the stress out. Perfectionism can foster a fear of failure and that’s the last thing we want.
How do we dial down the perfect and continue to be productive?
Take the stress out and enjoy the process. If we are relaxed so will everything else.
Sometimes the value is disproportionate to the amount of time we spend on it. It is important to think clearly and be aware of what “value” is. Will a dinner party be a disaster if you seek help or fuss less? Most likely not. The joy is in the inviting and spending time with friends.
Remove unrealistic expectations.
Don’t we all have these? We push ourselves too hard.
Overthinking, wanting to get it “just right” is a direct path to inaction. Making decisions, even when they don’t feel “perfect” can be liberating and set about a course of action that’s truly life-changing. Waiting in the wings, being an understudy is not where we want to stay. We have one chance, let’s take it.
Who wants to be perfect? Not me anymore. xv
ON SALE: Pretty Close To Perfect
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image, nyc dance project