How do you feel when you meet people who claim to be a perfectionist?
There was a time when I used to find those people very cool who claimed to be a perfectionist and I used to feel small and insufficient because I thought I was full of imperfections. I used to try and fail and learn and then try again to discover a better way of doing something. I never knew the best solutions. I wanted to be a perfectionist myself so one day decided to be one.
I thought to myself – what would it take to become a perfectionist? And the answer was simple – To know the best solution and to do it in the best way. Now the question was how to know & do the best that is actually THE BEST? Any task at hand, I decided I will think and think deep and speak to people and google and do whatever it takes to find the best way of doing the task. Few months passed, & I noticed I was where I was and in a worse state of mind and still couldn’t figure out what was best. How do those people do it?
And one day, one of my colleague who was so called a perfectionist & who I admired, shared her story of an achievement and how she came up with a break through solution for her project that took her 2 months of hard-work & was praised by all. While listening to her story, my instant response was another solution that was simpler, quicker and much more user friendly. She was amazed and told me not to share my idea with anyone or else she will lose the attention of being a super star in her project. That was a turning point for me – a break through moment.
I kept thinking. I used to admire her for being a perfectionist and she took 2 months to come up with something that was not even close to the solution that I could instantly offer. So did it mean what she thought was perfect was not really perfect? Someone else may always have a better answer?
I kept introspecting my journey of few months trying to become a perfectionist and realised that all during this time, I got more stressed, more unproductive, more dissatisfied, a bit frustrated, lost confidence to offer something because deep down I had been worried and conscious of a better answer that I may not have discovered yet. And most importantly, in search of the best answer, I didn’t try anything and hence didn’t know what could have worked. So basically, I didn’t learn anything and stayed where I started. I realised I was happier while trying new things and learning and knowing what may work and what may not and why. Though I did fail at a few things but I learnt and that learning helped me be better at lot of stuff. Process of trying to be a perfectionist was destructive & I felt very sad of beating myself so hard in search of something that never existed. Do you relate to this?
Have you ever tried to define perfection? I tried and realised that perfection is a myth. There will always be better versions in some way or the other. So chasing for something that the world may call perfect will never happen. Context changes & the definition of perfection also changes. So isn’t it a chase of mirage? If you actually look at it this way, you will realise the damage that it can do to the one running after it.
I am glad that phase came in my life, as within a couple of months, it gave me great lessons for life.
I now feel so good and happy to be imperfect because that’s what keeps me moving ahead in life, learning new stuff & stretching my limits. I am now much more in acceptance of myself and the fact that it is okay to make mistakes & it is okay to fail as long as one is learning from it.
I learnt that my success lies in being progressive than to be perfectionist – getting better than who I was yesterday, doing things better than what I did yesterday and taking one step every day.
And here comes my new proud definition of who I am – “Happily Imperfect”!