Abolish perfection

Let go of the absurd conviction that everything needs to be done perfectly. Do your best. That, by definition, is the best you CAN do.

So many of us have been brought up to be perfectionists. If something was not done up to someone’s standards, we got berated and denied the approval we were seeking. No wonder that so many budding artists have abandoned self-expression in one medium or another – after all, if the result is not perfect, it’s not worth trying, right? What we end up with, is not the world where there are few things in existence and all of them perfect. Instead, we are surrounded by the best other people could do, while judging the results of their labour as not good enough, meanwhile not daring to risk our perfectionist integrity in creating something of our own.

Forget perfectionism. There is no use trying to do something perfectly, since you will be disappointed every time. We are often our own worst critics. Instead embark on a project that excites you and enthusiastically do your best. Focus on enjoying the process, bring friends or children into it if the nature of the project allows for it, and have fun. Remember, you didn’t know how to do many things when you were a child. Not all of them required a teacher or a guide to help you reach proficiency. Children are great at trying things out if their imagination is not being constrained by prescribed activities. Awaken your inner child and experiment.

If you want to hone your skills, by all means, look at the result of your labour critically and see what could be done differently next time. Focus on constructive criticism, ask others’ opinions only if you want to build on their feedback. Think on those ideas, adjust your process, and, if you like, try again, but don’t fall into the trap of trying to make it perfect this time. It takes more than doing something once to become a master. Do your best, enjoy the process, and emerge with more experience. This applies to art, crafts, writing, programming, and many other projects.

Liberate yourself from the chains of having to be perfect all the time. Life is short. Pick up a project you like, do the best you can, enjoy the process, and if with time you can build up your expertise, all the more power to you.

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  1. Pingback: We cast. Hands empty, we wait. - Fingering Zen

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