Perfectionism

All perfectionism is insecurity in disguise. 

Underneath any desire to be perfect lies fear. The fear of being misjudged, misunderstood, unseen. Perfectionism tells you that doing what you want is too hard, everyone else is an idiot, so why bother starting in the first place? 

It’s the silent killer of creativity. 

The only way to fight perfectionism is through action. Minimize the path between “That’s an idea!” and execution. The less you think, the better. 

Apologize for what you’ve done rather than regret what you didn’t do. The more you do it, the more confidence you’ll have going forward. Fighting perfectionism is like a muscle – the more you exercise, the better you get. And if you quit exercising for a while, it can be really difficult to get back in the game. 

So do, not think. Do something new every day. Write something. Cook something. Pitch something. Make mistakes. 

Perfectionism tells you that mistake is not an option. But all progress is done through mistakes. The evolution of species is making mistakes. The same goes for the evolution of the soul and creative work. 

To learn to fight perfectionism, learn to be OK with failing and looking stupid. Embrace being stupid. Look for more, new ways to be stupid. Look for more, new ways to fail. The more you do, the less afraid of it you’ll be. Looking stupid is part of being human and it’s definitely part of being a creative human. 

As Matt Haig wrote: “Never be cool. Never try and be cool. Never worry what the cool people think. Head for the warm people. Life is warmth. You’ll be cool when you’re dead.” 

So do not compare yourself to other people. Yes, they may have less anxiety and less perfectionism, but they are not you. 

Finally, your perfectionism is not all that bad. Embrace it. Love it. It’s part of you. At the end of the day, it makes you strive for the best. The other word for perfectionism is good taste. 

All perfectionism is high aspirations in disguise. 

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