“Now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good,” says a character in John Steinbeck’s novel *East of Eden.* I suggest that you make this your rallying cry. In fact, why not begin right now, wherever you are? Say “Now that I don’t have to be perfect, I can be good.” Free yourself of the pressure to be the polished, ultimate embodiment of everything you’d ever hoped you would be. That will allow you to relax into being more content with the intriguing creation you have already become. You may be surprised by how much mojo this affords you.
Most procrastination is caused by the strong urge to ONLY do things that you can do perfectly, like watching TV, eating ice cream, sleeping…
If something is worth doing well, it’s worth doing poorly. That is another way to get yourself in action, whether the action is doing, or speaking.
Many of my students speak really slowly, really mind-fully… their speaking doesn’t make sense, it’s disjointed, it’s fraught with inconsistencies. Big words, no sense.
The underlying issue is: they are afraid to say something wrong, and then be told that they’d said something wrong. NOOOO, the mind screams, and the result is cautious tiptoeing, beating around the bush, vagueness, and a life not worth living.
the size of your life is the size of your projects
If the size of your life is the size of your projects, then being cautious causes you to not have any life, most of the time. And when you have a project, to fret, to procrastinate, to wait… until you can do it perfectly, or make the perfect choices.
There is nothing you can do perfectly off the get-go, literally nothing.
If you allow this weakness, this misguided delusional idea, that you can, that you can be perfect, you are screwed, for life.
—It might have started when you were little: you were the charmer, and everybody admired you. Then your mother had the idea to send you to a piano teacher, and it was clear that learning the piano didn’t start with playing the Fur Elise, or the Moonlight sonata (Beethoven), perfectly.
That incident, albeit it was the first and biggest disappointment you caused till that day, became the pattern of your life: now you are refusing to do anything that doesn’t promise perfection right from the start: now you arrange vegetables at the grocery store… that, THAT, you can do perfectly.
Your life is empty, and you don’t know what to do. You refuse to do anything anyone tells you, because what they tell you is ALWAYS something that you can’t do perfectly.
And unless you change your mind about that, you will die, an unspent life, a potential unfulfilled, miserable and wretched.
–It might be that you are really clever, and everything comes easy to you. You are artistic, you are maybe talented. But, any successful person can tell you, success may need talent, but it definitely needs practice, painful practice more than anything… time spent doing things you don’t like to do, scales, and different exercises.
I remember when I was learning to touch-type. The exercises drove me crazy, but today I type well, and I love that I do. Imagine writing 10,000 words every week with two fingers… horrid idea… lol.
By the way it takes NO courage to do something that you don’t do well. It takes two things instead: 1. Knowing that you can make it better, that perfection is a sliding scale, and you can always find yourself on the scale of perfection, 1-to-100… Hey, I am a 30 now… lol. No biggie. 2. Making it better
I created a hand and body lotion the other day for sale. It was good, but I started to experiment, and I made it better. Then I ordered some more really primo stuff to add, and it got even better.
Can I sell it? I doubt it: my cost is what people normally pay for a bottle of that quality stuff… Do I care? I don’t. I had fun, and it will be a great gift when I need a gift on a short notice.
Bringing play to anything that you do is the best way to be present, the best way to allow for faux pas (wrong steps), for screwing up, for being less than perfect.
The fun is going from lousy to good in tiny steps. There is absolutely no fun in jumping to perfection
Jumping into perfection is like winning the lottery: you can’t have fun with the money, you can’t appreciate it, you can’t keep it.
Because as you get better, your beingness becomes that… better and better and good… Hey, I am good… Amazing experience, and an amazing starting point for anything in life.
T. Harv Eker said, and he should know, that making millions of dollars serves one purpose only: to become someone who can make millions of dollars… The beingness is amazing.
Winning, inheriting money doesn’t make you a millionaire, even if the money is in the millions. It will make you a knucklehead who can’t… with a lot of money… that they could not make, the only thing they can do is spend it, or hoard it… but either way, they are screwed.
Play is how children learn the world… at least in countries where people grow up to be individuals. Play is good, screwing up is good, eating dirt is good, getting dirty is good, getting scrapes and bruises, and even broken limbs is good, experimenting is good… It is life giving, instead of life-sucking, like being cautious, holding back.
This is my gift for you today. If you start practicing it today, by the New Year you’ll have experienced enough to make a New Year’s Resolution to keep it up for a year.
It will make 2015 the best year, the most alive year of your life.
And maybe the year when you are becoming good… instead of being paralyzed by the need to be perfect.