How To Fail At ANYTHING (aka Perfectionism)
Even those who are perfectionists – oddly enough avoid the word perfectionist. Society has (happily) given it a bad name.
So all of you people who just want to “get it right” use euphemisms. You talk about the timing could be better, you need more resources, next year when the economy turns around, just need a little bit more time to take another look at it…and TRY harder.
Perfect is impossible. The attempt to make something perfect before you act is simply an excuse to avoid doing. Men who are commitment phobes search for a “perfect woman”. People who really like eating sugar search for the “perfect diet”.
Come on in… I won’t bite. Today’s deep dive is into perfection – the easiest way to fail at ANYTHING.
P.S. Forgetting the subject line on this was an awesome (& accidental!) test- did YOU open the one with the mistake??
Julia Cameron, Writer
Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is the pursuit of
the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we
do will ever be good enough – that we should try harder.”
In hindsight looking at the first two topics for the magazine: efforts for and comparing, it seems natural that perfectionism should be up next. After all these guys are all close cousins.
And now for a brief rant on the things that would NOT exist if their inventors had been total perfectionists: cars, light bulbs, tampons, air-conditioning, radio, TV, cable TV, cell phones…
Can you spot the pattern? Just about anything that you find useful in your day-to-day existence was created by somebody somewhere who pushed past the urge to have it “just right” and got on with it.
I heard a quote recently that I liked:
Imperfect Action always beats Perfect Inaction – Harry Truman
You don’t have to get it right, x you just have to get it going. (I am CLEARLY feeling very “quote-y”).
My favorite anti-perfection teaching I use all the time “You can’t steer a parked car. Meaning, you have got to get in motion for me to even be able to course correct you were give you some feedback.
So since ego loves efforting, adores comparing, you can fully expect that it is the President of the Fan Club of Perfection.
Here are easy instructions for HOW TO FAIL at the next important thing you’re going to do:
1) Decide that it’s important. Really important. Preferably your life will just go to hell in a handbasket if “it “doesn’t happen.
This will ensure that all of your energy is negative and lack based. It will guarantee that your motivation is fearful which must fail by law.
2) Then decide there’s only one way to do whatever it is you’re doing or to get wherever it is you want to go. Just the one.
On high spiritual terms this collapses the quantum field of possibilities so that it becomes impossible for you to see any option other than the single one you’ve identified, which makes it WAY easier for you to fail
3) Now you should demand that the thing happen… Right now. Yes urgently. Critically. Right this moment.
Under no circumstances should you consider the possibility of allowing divine timing to assist or that God can veer off of your schedule. Be firm, let the Universe know you need it right the hell now.
4) At every moment of uncertainty, worry about failing.
Make doubly sure that you are focused on the worst possible outcome at ALL times, so that you only notice things that will lead you to that dark outcome. (Thank Goodness for the Law of Like to Like!)
5) Consult as many other people as possible who do not believe that you can succeed.
It can be difficult to ensure a total failure, however surrounding yourself with people who are used to failing themselves and/or watching you fail and then discussing your plans with them endlessly is a very good start.
6) Often overlooked but nonetheless critical, is try to do as little as possible toward the outcome. Avoid, delay, procrastinate, research, plan and argue are all great tactics here to avoid taking action.
Getting into motion and receiving feedback that could actually tell you how to course correct and reach your goal would require you to have to begin without certainty of success. That’s sounds uncomfortable. So obviously, that’s silly. Wait until you’re totally certain.
7) If you can’t bring yourself to simply expect to fail, please do the next closest thing and simply hope not to fail.
Thankfully, the doubt in the “hope” should successfully keep you from succeeding.
Oh. Maybe I should have called that “7 Steps to Mastering Perfection?”
Or “How Your Ego Keeps You from Achieving Your Big Dreams While it LOOKS Like You Are Trying“
Yuck. Just to discuss this I had to use words I don’t like – like the word “try.” Try is a curse word to me. Long live Master Yoda just nailed this one when he said:
Do or do not. There is no try.
In fact, when I encounter someone who has perfectionist tendencies – they will often tell me that they are… (please imagine me gritting my teeth) trying!
The special version of trying that they’re doing usually involves Step 6 above.
Since I seem to be on a little bit of a roll, here is the quote that is powerful and true and a little magical. It conveys everything I want you to learn and act on. This quote is the antidote to perfectionism.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
He’s even got Commitment in there (Step 1 of Tanya’s 4 Steps to Decide Anything). I love it. Make it your guide.
A book called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
If you are battling your ego to get your work done, especially if it is creative work, this book will get you MOVING. What I call ego, he calls Resistance. I listened to it on a cross country flight and nodded in agreement so much, I’m shocked my neck wasn’t sore!
Excellent coaching in a book. I give it as a gift.
Hopefully you laughed during the 7 Steps above. I want you to look at the next “thing” you are pushing and pulling for. Run it through the list. See where you are holding yourself back with a focus on trying to “get it right”. DONE is always better than perfect. I launch at 80%. I teach that. When your “whatever” hits 80% – launch it. You will get quick feedback that will enable you to get your 80 up over 90. Does Apple send us iPhones at 100%? Hell NO!
“Perfection is a dream killer. It is just fear disguised as trying to do your best. It just is.”
Perfection involves you lying to yourself (I am not afraid) and lying to others (this delay is for YOUR benefit). The motivation is fear and no fear based motivation can prosper long term by law. It also illustrates self-trust issues (my efforts are not enough), self-love issues (I am not enough) and reflects a belief of performance to earn love – which makes you uneasy receiving love. In short, it’s a spiritual cancer. Don’t ignore it, seek help.
Wow, Did You Hear?
Is this real life??? Beyond grateful for a powerful training by the amazing Nathania Stewart! I mean how did we get so lucky to have met someone that has coached Les Brown?!?? Thank you Nicole for introducing Alisha and I to her! Our businesses have sky rocketed since working with her. Thank you Tanya for an inspirational, no bullshit training tonight!! Love you!!!
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