I’ve peppered in along the way how perfectionism can be a killer of our potential. I often didn’t think I was a perfectionist because I didn’t feel like I could do anything to the standard I wanted, which was perfection. Then I realised that the nature of perfectionism is that you often undercut yourself in order to talk yourself out of something for fear of its imperfection.
I almost didn’t start writing the content for this app because of that very thought. Everything I do is imperfect in some way, it is unrealistic to think that absolutely everyone will approve of and like everything you do and create. I used to drink in order to feign that feeling, or forget the fear around it. In the entry about hobbies we talked about the potential to be “bad” at something, to try something without the end goal of complete mastery.
I think this is important to apply to our work, our creativity, and how we move through the world. We are always in a constant state of learning, even though most of us possess a skill that we do significantly better than the average person either inside or outside of our field. When someone asked the famous cellist Pablo Casals why he still practises at age 90 he replied: “Because I think I’m getting better.”
I have a little sticker on my computer that says, “Surrender the Outcome.” This reminds me to do the work as diligently as possible, and release the judgements I am projecting. I can use feedback as a healthy tool, but I don’t write/sing/create with the intention of pleasing everyone or trying to create a perfect product based off how I think people will judge it.
Sobriety got me back in touch with my creativity. With my new relationship to my feelings and experiences I could dive into myself in an authentic way that was more raw and oftentimes painful than before, especially with my propensity to overthink everything. But it was also more profound than anything I had ever done. It was horribly vulnerable, and oftentimes felt like pulling teeth – but I made a commitment to not let perfectionism talk me out of creating, and it turns out the negative beliefs I had around my work weren’t inbuilt in the people who were enjoying it. Most people willingly participating with something I created are actually there with the purpose of enjoying it, not judging it. They weren’t looking for something perfect, they were looking for something real.
What would you do/create if you didn’t have to worry about being perfect at it?
Three tiny things:
- Engage or reengage with any of the hobbies you explored a few weeks ago.
- Revisit your dreams, maybe write down some actionable steps around them.
- Set aside some time for meditation today.