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Letting go of perfectionism

Updated: Jan 12

Perfectionism is something we tell ourselves we should have. And we get it all mixed up in our head.


I'd suggest there are two forms of perfectionism.


First, there is the good one, the healthy one. The way this one works:

I see how things are and i want to change it to the way it should be. A creative person who seeks perfectionism says there is an ideal state. I want to take us from the way things are to the way things should be. We can work towards that. We can take risks. We can try something new. This form is good.


The other kind of perfectionism is this belief that seems to be very popular in creative circles and communities which states that "you are only as good as the last thing you created". Now, that is a lot of weight to carry! That means that every time you succeed you cannot deviate from that, you cannot try other things because there is a high probability that when you try something new that you will fail. Especially when compared to the previous thing you created. It is unrealistic to expect that you will be at your best. An example: i can't sing. I don't go for singing classes and expect to sing like Elvis or Pavarotti or Adele within a day or even forever. I expect to struggle and not to sing like them. I even expect to want to quit. But i don't. So, eventually when i put my heart and soul into it and i don't quit i get better. And that is what matters.


Embrace the idea of failure. "Failure and invention are inseparable twins." Jeff Bezos.


Take risks. Otherwise you will not progress. You will be what you have always been. You will be stuck if you stick to this second form of perfectionism. You won't progress. Your career will come to a standstill. You will not learn. You will not get better. Not in your career. Not in life.


Get out of the safety zone. Don't be afraid of failure. Can you see how harmful this second way of perfectionism can be?