“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not happier – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago”.
° Edgar Allan Poe.
Ah, The Perfectionism Syndrome.
Who hasn’t been infected with it at one point or another in our respective lives?
That’s where the real problem lies if you haven’t, really.
And of course, that’s where it starts too.
Plus, it’s pretty contagious. Everyone and everything’s been ringing it in our ears for, forever!
Perfect Grades, Perfect Skin, Perfect Job, Perfect Ranking, Perfect Skills, Perfect House, Perfect Car… This is an endless list for us all.
We pursue perfections that are most desirable to us individually.
We lay hands on some rather quickly (or so we believe), others take a longer time, and a couple just love to taunt us like that spider that sits quite comfortably on the roof, looking down on us, knowing we won’t be coming any close for a good while.
Unfortunately, it’s not so hard to get swallowed up in the scheme to achieve perfection in an aspect of one’s life that it develops into a full-blown obsession.
After all, who doesn’t want to be at the top? I bet we all do.
Respected and recognized and accomplished and all the bonus packages that come along with it.
Pretty appealing. I know.
However when we let things escalate to that point, we cannot help but lose ourselves in it.
It’s hard to not unconsciously bring yourself to the place of becoming uncomfortable due to the comfort you already anticipate, hanging out a couple of blocks ahead.
Is it great to get yourself to get uncomfortable to want to move out of the stagnant situation you are in and towards where you should be? Yup.
Is it great to not be in a stagnant position and get yourself to be uncomfortable that you can’t teleport yourself already to the spot you’re dying to get to? Not really, no.
Now, putting in those extra efforts make the difference no doubt, but sprinkle a bit too much salt in your soup and you just might succeed in running over the thin line between “just right” and “way overboard”.
It’s the problem with perfectionists.
They never do as much as they have the potential to.
Why? Because they always strive to over-do the ones they do do.
Why? Because taking risks, not getting it how they want it when they want it, failing, has become absolutely terrifying.
Presenting themselves as “half-baked” to the world? It’ll be like dying a thousand deaths in their head.
Just like Brene Brown said: “Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life.
Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. Infact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
The Gifts Of Imperfection: Let Go Of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be And Embrace Who You Are.
Here’s one thing I consciously remind myself, and I recommend you do too:
It’s fine to be not-quite-there-yet sometimes.
It’s not the most awesome thing, obviously no, but it’s perfectly okay.
As long as continuous advancement is occurring, it’s fine.
Quick question now; (that’s not rhetorical and probably not so quick), have you ever found yourself in a situation where you over-analyzed something for so long, it all of a sudden looks like crap?
And not just the normal kind of crap, but the “What the heck was I even thinking. Was I even thinking???” kind of crap.
You were so sure it had achieved series of pass marks to a good extent, but then after dwelling on it some more, the entire thing suddenly started looking like a totally bad idea?
Stared at a selfie for so long, dragged the project back and forth for so long, dissected that essay or article for so long, because you wanted it to be “just right?”
Been there too, haven’t you?
Now here’s the one answer to this blog post:
To get to the place of Perfection is an ever continuous journey.
And yes, this journey can be enjoyed.
This journey should most definitely be enjoyed.
So relax already, will you?
A major problem a good number of us face is that we keep our eyes glued to those major goals of ours every single second we don’t know how to do anything else.
We tend to compare ourselves with the life of others that seem to be “doing big” and better than we are and we want to forge ahead, only because we’ve become bothered by what we see.
In this journey towards that which is perfect, there really is no final destination.
Because you know that popular saying—No one is perfect?
That still hasn’t changed unfortunately.
Meaning, believe it or not, there is absolutely always room for improvement, and this applies to anyone and anything and everything.
It’s why Apple keeps increasing their phone sizes and announcing latest updates for more efficient operating systems and we keep purchasing and purchasing.
Because things can always do and be better.
And so to even believe you can achieve a point of total perfection is in fact, to an extent, limiting how far better things can actually still get.
However, hold on, I’m not done here.
Have you heard a person go “This is just perfect for me” or “This was exactly what I wanted?”
That’s because somewhere along the line, in this quest towards perfection, you, and no one else mind you, ultimately possess the ability to choose your self-determined bus-stop.
The point you choose to get off and dwell at.
How long you stay there is also yours to decide.
You determine your happy place where you can say with all certainty: “Yes, this is it, yes, I couldn’t possibly want anything else” or “I don’t think I need to go any further. Plus, this spot I’ve put in effort to reach is pretty good”.
And you know what? Good for you.
The mistake you can make it to let people, circumstances or your environment determine this.
Or hold you back from even starting.
We all have different views on what the perfect whatever should look like, be like, turn out like.
If you choose to let society force it’s ever changing general view on what success or perfection should appear like, you’d put yourself in the position of just going around in circles.
So defining these things yourself is crucial.
Don’t see the world and let it push you around and under. Don’t let it force you into pursuing everything blindly.
Like one of my favourite quotes by Yohji Yamamoto goes: ‘’I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion”.
Don’t feel threatened by the sometimes polluted ideologies it keeps pushing at every one of us daily.
Ideologies that if you aren’t a millionaire in your 20’s, you’re bound to be a failure and poor and unhappy and your kids will suffer for it.
Ideologies that you cannot be considered beautiful if you aren’t “picture perfect”.
Ideologies that you have to be a straight A achiever, with the highest IQ student, to be successful and get the best offers you can possibly get after college.
It’s why everyone is walking around with anxiety written all over faces, blood pressures rising faster than the economy situation, jealousy, anger, malice, ruling in social circles all over.
So no matter how further and relentlessly you can choose to keep going on in that journey of yours, just move with the knowledge that there is no brick wall at the end.
It is not a race and you decide how your journey looks like.
The possibilities are endless.
With you evolving. Learning. Advancing.
You are allowed to take your time and move at your pace.
Wrapping this all up, obviously this post is definitely not to discourage you from aiming towards the highest heights.
I bet no one would even take me seriously if I said that.
Rather, it’s to infect you with the understanding that everything can always be better than they are, no matter how good they look already, and so your ultimate goal should be to be fuelled with desire to move from the point you are presently, not get overly engrossed about all the zillion of levels you could be in.
So work towards perfection, don’t be mediocre.
There are more than enough of those kinds of people already, and when you do work towards perfection, chances are that with time, you always keep going closer and closer (cancel) further and further.
And a step behind was where you once stood.
However, set your standards for yourself by yourself, enjoy the stages you get to, celebrate each one–it’s an accomplishment!
And when those standards truly becomes standard, you have every right in the world to decide to stop worrying about anything else.
And to pick up again, whenever you so wish to.
Remember, you call the shots.
So go out there.
And one step after the last, don’t forget to be as awesome as you choose to be.