Letting Go Of Perfection

Being a perfectionist is all the rage these days. Perfectionism also has a dark side to it which tends to get glossed over.

When you are getting started on an activity, perfectionism acts as a hindrance. There are many a time where you know that you do not have enough bandwidth to dedicate wholly to something that you do not even start on it. Your subconscious has been trained to reject any activity whose outcome it foresees as not meeting the high standards you have set for yourself.  Hence, you do not even start on it. When you face this sort of situation, reason with your brain saying I know that I might not ace this, but I want to do it just for the fun of it. There is no rule saying you have to ace each and everything you do. Many a time, the joy of doing something beats the outcome.

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Take for example that you have assigned a project which is rotten at the core and your job is to fix it. The rot is so thick that it permeates every aspect of the project. Being the perfectionist that you are, you want to set right everything all at once which is humanly not possible given the extent of the rot. Hence you become depressed and sour and lose sight of the original goal. The right way to solve this is to tell yourself that little drops of water make a mighty ocean. List all the things wrong and prioritize what needs to be fixed immediately and get to work. The other inefficiencies going around will irk you, but remind yourself that one day you will get to it and set that right.

You start something with zeal, you are almost in sight of the finish line, but you never seem to get there. Why? You are in an infinite loop of polishing and improving to meet the high standards you have set for yourself. The question to ask is, is the time you are investing in refining giving diminishing returns? Are the improvements making any difference other than making you feel accomplished? If the answer is yes, finish it and call it done.

Being a perfectionist is good, but as with anything, do not take it to an extreme. There is a saying in our ancient philosophy, even the nectar of life if taken in voluminous proportions is poisonous.

One thought on “Letting Go Of Perfection

  1. Pingback: On Writing | Void

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