Perfection, perception and possibility

I once wrote that perfection is a falsehood. I stand by that statement. Perfection doesn’t really exist becuase of 2 things: perception and possibility.

What may seem perfect to one person will be viewed differently by another. Perceptions of others might end up changing your own view of your work. But perfection will never be universal because not everything is for everyone.

The end result of anything you do is based on picking one option out of several. But if at certain stages you found yourself caught between perhaps 2 out of the 5 options, when you’re finally done you may wonder about the possibilities of the other options. You might find yourself thinking, maybe it would have been even better if you chose the other option.

So why not let go of the perfectionism, something you’ll never truly achieve. Instead focus on the joy joy of creating your work and getting better and better over time.

Internalising boundaries

You can learn a lot from someone by simply observing them.

I recently noticed in a particular relationship that the other person had very clear boundaries. It wasn’t anything that had been explicitly stated but through this persons actions it was very clear what they were and were not open to.

Sometimes a persons boundaries can feel personal. You might feel that they’re being harsh and closed off toward you. On the other hand you might internalise it and end up thinking you need to put in more effort.

In the situation I experienced I could have taken it personally, in fact 5 years ago I would have. I’d have thought this means [insert monologue of dramatic over reaction here] and maybe this person doesn’t like me.

But I now understand that a boundary is for the person setting them, it has little to do with the people on the receiving end.

The difficult truth

Sometimes the hardest part is facing it.

Once you accept it, you can make a plan for what do next. That for many is exciting.

However, facing the difficult truth is the necessary first step. You do it by acknowledging and understanding the situation. In some cases it will involve admitting the role that you played contributed to a negative outcome.

That’s a helpful lesson because it allows you to understand the implications of your actions.

It might be a bitter pill to swallow but we all make mistakes. Luckily, we also have the capacity to fix them and make things better.

Identifying the discord

In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.

If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.

What did you want?

What was the outcome?

Were you happy with the way things turned out?

It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.

But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.

People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.

However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.

Not being good enough

I used to be the kind of person that would internalise everything.

For example, if I didn’t get the job I applied for it was because I wasn’t good enough and not that they had 7 excellent candidates and only one role to fill so not everyone could be a winner.

I could give countless other examples but me internalising those experiences all came from the same place, this feeling of not being good enough. It’s a strange realisation when you start to understand that the way you see yourself contributes to the way you experience life.

Once I started working on how I saw myself, my entire outlook on life changed.

I recently had this experience where someone was intentionally inconsiderate. In the past I’d have kept quiet, felt bad, got upset and allowed that one moment to ruin the rest of my day.

Instead, I responded by simply asking why this person chose to be inconsiderate.

I understand why some people might up being that way but it doesn’t mean they can’t change, if they want to.

The way that things should be

We often go around with this idea in our heads of the way that things should be, in some ways it’s a good thing. When you know what you want you’re much less likely to let life pass you by.

On the other hand when you’re so fixated on the way that things should be you don’t give room for organic growth and development.

Lets say you applied for what you think will be your dream job but when you get there it’s not quite what you thought it would be. If you’re dead set on your ‘dream job’ you might end up leaving after a few months or staying put but hating it because it’s not what you wanted.

But if you take your foot off the gas and let go of the rigid plan created you might find that in this job you’re able to discover something that you’re actually interested in. It might be be even better than what you thought you wanted.

Letting go of expectations and letting things be isn’t always easy to put into practice. It requires patience and the ability to trust that things will turn out okay.

Why it’s so hard to change

You spend a large amount of your formative years trying to figure yourself out. You’re favourite colour, what you like to eat and the kinds of movies you like to watch.

But it goes much deeper than that. Perhaps it’s what political party you want to support, your career path, whether you want to get married or have kids, who your friends are, your opinion on world issues and the sort of place you want to live.

However, sometimes these things change. Perhaps you wanted to be an Accountant at 19 but years later you now want to be a Visual Merchandiser.

Changing your path might feel difficult because it goes against the person you thought you were, the character of you that you created.

Suddenly other aspects of yourself may no longer seem to fit because one part of you has changed.

This is the point where many choose not to change.

I’ve wanted to be an accountant for long so I may as well stick with it. 

It’s going to be so hard to become a Visual Merchandiser so I may as well stick with a more stable option.

The thing is though you’re allowed to change, not only from childhood to adulthood but day to day.

As you gain new experiences, your perspectives will change. Don’t reject your development and hold yourself back.

 

With an open mind

That thing that you’re not interested in, that you don’t think is for you, it might be one day.

It takes time for the mind to open up to things, especially when they’re different or new.

This could apply to the music you listen to, shows you watch or even the food that you eat.

One day you’re telling everyone that you don’t do comedy, you don’t find it funny and you much prefer a drama.

Then years later you’re sat at home watching the office (US), snorting with laughter thankful that you changed your mind about the kind of shows you watch.

The thing with your taste changing over time is that it’s part of your development. You don’t need to force yourself to be a certain way right now just because it’s something on the path you’re heading down.

Be patient, remain open and allow the changes to happen naturally.

Do you really want to do it?

When someone comes to you, asking some thing of you, how do you respond?

Do you simply think about whether or not you want to do it?

Do you worry about how the other person will react if you say no?

So often we grow up inadvertently being taught to people please and unless we later unlearn it, it stays with us.

Then you find yourself saying yes to something you don’t want to do because you’re worried about hurting someones feelings, to the point where you place that above doing what feels right for you.

If that’s something you can relate to, you might want to start learning to say no.

It gets easier over time, practice makes perfect after all.

Can I do better?

A question I’m learning to ask myself without judgement?

It’s easy to judge yourself and in doing so you’re not likely to answer the question in a way that is helpful.

You’ll be likely to find yourself caught up in a woe is me story-line. Your answer will be something like: ‘Well, I’m trying and it’s just not working out the way I want and I wish it could be better but maybe I’m just not good enough…’.

That sort of mentality isn’t helpful and it won’t result in growth, development or progress.

When it comes to improving on something you can’t attach emotions to your critique because it isn’t personal.

When asking the question Can I do better? it isn’t even really about a yes or no answer because one could argue that you can always do better. Instead it’s about whether you are happy to put out the thing you’ve created or the work that you’ve done.