There are two kinds of perfect: The one you can never achieve, and the other, by just being yourself. ~ Lauren King
It’s not easy being a perfectionist and striving towards the unobtainable. Perfectionism is a powerful drive for excelling, but can also become a source of procrastination. Since perfectionism is a part of human nature it’s good to learn how to deal with it, so that it becomes a strength instead of a weakness.
Nothing is perfect
Nothing you create will ever be perfect. The only thing that’s perfect is the essence of who you are, consciousness itself. Experiencing your own consciousness happens when you’re completely in the moment and self-aware. It’s the basic idea behind The Power of Now by Eckhard Tolle. Creating something which is perfect is by definition impossible. With this in mind it will be easier to accept the imperfection of your work, which is essential in dealing with perfectionism. Have the courage to be imperfect; it’s the only way to authentically manifest yourself in the world.
Since nothing is perfect, that also means the road to perfection is endless. There will always be room for improvement, no matter how tiny it may be. In your awareness you are perfect and that drives the mind to bring perfection into the world. The end goal isn’t perfection, but the journey towards mastery itself. All the work you do along the way is part of that journey. Let your mind be perfect in what you do, but accept the result as it is.
Dare to be an imperfectionist
Successful people aren’t pefect and neither is their work. In fact, many successful business owners and artists had to deal with plenty of failure and disappointment before they got to where they are now. They just had the balls to get themselves out there and didn’t give up. If they were too afraid to perform, because they knew it would be imperfect, would they have ever become successful? Not really. They achieved despite their flaws and because of their courage to be imperfect.
Everything I’ve created is subject to flaws; my website, my music, my businesses and my habits. But looking at the bigger picture it’s simply a journey in which I keep improving, and that is my success. If I would’ve waited with putting myself out there before everything was tip top, then it probably never would’ve happened at all. Would you really want to take the chance to regret the things you didn’t do when it’ll be too late? The truth is that we can’t afford not to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable. An idea is worth as much as its execution, so something is better than nothing.
Taking chances is a key to success in business. I’ve met people who landed assignments they were hardly ready nor qualified for, but they learned the skills on the way. In the mean time they got rewarded for their boldness by sticking out their neck with failure lurking around the corner. The reality is that we’ll never feel ready to take the jump until we do it and realize it wasn’t all that bad. The conflict exists only in the mind and not in the real world. Magic happens when we’re leaving our comfort zone. Recognizing this and seeing it as a indication of growth is the kind of mentality that every perfectionist could use.
Don’t judge yourself
Just because your creations aren’t perfect doesn’t mean you should be too hard on yourself. Of course it’s good to be critical to see in which areas you can improve (and ask others for honest feedback), but don’t let that process disturb the joy of creating and expressing. Often the biggest haters of our work are us, so be compassionate with yourself and don’t kill your own enthusiasm. Also, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of self-praise. Being successful involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledging and affirming your strengths is just as important for success as recognizing your weaknesses.
In the competitive business world people are always comparing themselves to others and perfectionist ideals (anyone who appears to be perfect is just putting up a show anyway). As helpful as it can be to get inspired through someone else, that doesn’t mean it’s good to try and fit the model of what society dictates you should be. The best way to eliminate competition doesn’t lie in trying to be like someone else, but just in being you. Improve your skills, but keep your own flavor. The more you generalize yourself the less uniqueness you have to sell. Uniqueness is what makes you valuable and stand out.
Finally, it’s important for perfectionists to realize that other people are not nearly as judging as we are. Why would you hate your own work if other people appreciate it? If we don’t put ourselves out there, because we’re afraid of what others might think as a projection of our own self-judgment, then we’re not only doing ourselves a disservice, but also all the people who would’ve enjoyed it. So use your perfectionist nature to improve, but not to spoil your work. By doing so you let the whole world down, and not just yourself.
Accept your flaws and imperfections. Don’t wait with things until you’re ready, but challenge yourself to be courageous and go for it. Use your perfectionist nature as a drive to improve your skills in your personal process of growth, but don’t let it spoil the joy of doing your work and making mistakes. Make sure that perfectionism doesn’t become the advocate of procrastination, because that’s not doing yourself nor the world any justice. And finally, don’t judge yourself. Others are often much more appreciative than you’d imagine. Keep your uniqueness, and don’t be afraid to just be you, because that’s enough.
Are you a perfectionist? How do you cope with it? Please comment and share your story!