Progres Not Perfection
The Collins dictionary definition of “perfect” is as follows - Adjective – having all the essential elements, complete; unspoilt; faultless; correct, precise; excellent. While Chambers says – Done thoroughly or completely; complete; mature; completely skilled or versed; without flaw, blemish or fault.
I have pushed myself to extremes so much so that my health suffered a great deal. As if it wasn't bad enough being bipolar with ADHD tendencies striving for perfectionism just stoked the fire with the most flammable ingredients known to Man and all it ended up doing was leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. I tried therapy which is all well and good if you're able to put things in practise. But of course a lot of the time therapists don't give "homework". Since embarking on a career as a Life Coach I've discovered that having certain goals and targets and deadlines and finding the purpose has helped people (and me) enormously. Everyone is different and there is no single blueprint that will help everyone and I feel that's where Coaching can really help. Therapy is great at trying to know *why* but not perhaps effective in moving forward. A few things that have helped me on my journey to conquering the need for perfection or getting better at everything. 1. Realise the only thing that is perfect is Nature. Nothing else comes close. 2. Accept that by doing your best you're doing enough and the results will speak for themselves. For example, if you do a music exam and you've struggled with a certain element throughout the preparation time and on the day you give it your best but the examiner makes a comment about it that upsets you. Well, they don't know the journey you've been on so the fact you have improved in your own eyes should be enough. 3. Continuing from number 2...Life is not a competition. Don't do anything to please others - only yourself. The minute you can take the ego out of the equation, the better things become. 4. It's a highly admirable thing to want to perfect or constantly improve. Realise though that just by doing something again and again it's going to improve anyway...albeit in small increments. If you find that you can't stop the best thing I started to do is set myself a deadline. Once that deadline had passed I HAD to stop and move on. This was something with which I struggled massively and it took a lot of grit and determination to actually do this. One way round it was to do a phased deadline. By that I mean deadline one was a draft, number 2 was embellished and number 3 was the finished article. Once the third deadline arrived I stopped working on it and accepted the work I'd done as being complete. Then a long time after...at least a year (six months if you really need to) you may revisit it to see how you feel about it and make adjustments as needed....but again - set a realistic deadline and stick to it! 5. Take. Your. Time. If you're trying to learn a new technique or skill remember it takes time to achieve it! Be patient with yourself and don't compare yourself to other people. Everyone learns at different paces. Just because you pick things up slower (or faster) doesn't make you worse (or better) than the other people doing the same thing. Maybe they have more time on their hands available to work on it. Maybe they're wired that way and are able to pick things up quickly. Maybe they're just lucky. Building solid foundations and not cutting corners gives you something solid on which to build. More on this in a future blog. 6. Be proud of what you achieve and who you are. Be proud that you actually give a f*** and want to improve. Just realise there comes a time when you need to stop. Is there anything to be gained from learning more (right now)?...apart from the knowledge which is a given. Think of an artist trying to paint the "perfect" picture. They'll constantly add or tweak but in the end it just gets too much. A beautiful sunrise or sunset (I don't see many sunrises!) is perfection in its truest definition, it has no need to improve or impress others (or itself). It just....is. Which brings me full circle to point number 1.... I truly hope some of this helps or even just one thing.