Perfectionism Kills Dreams
Hello again…I'm so excited to share this post with you….I turned 60 this year and the older I get the less I'm interested in being perfect, the more I want to be playful and experimental. Why?…Because life is a lot more fun 🙂
Lately I've noticed again and again…. that so many people have very little joy in life and noticed that the common denominator is perfectionism: Focusing on chores, what we need to do, you know the annoying stuff like homework, shopping, cleaning, working, we beat ourselves up when we do something wrong, but rarely do we celebrate when we do something right 🙂
Even as adults…. it's still like this: Do your homework and then you can play. The weird thing is… now you say this to yourself, no teacher or parent required. Have you noticed this? Take a moment and ask yourself this question….are you one of them? do you do this? Just this little “awareness” can change your life.
Change your attitude, change your life.
So… how can you actually change your attitude?
- Be aware of your thoughts
- Be willing to experiment
- Accept that new behavior feels uncomfortable.
Be aware of your thoughts
What are you actually thinking? Interesting question isn’t it. For a few minutes several times during the day…. watch your thoughts. Like an outsider, observer, be aware of what you think. Yes it’s simple but then it’s not….. try it and see what happens. Actually… why not write it down….take a journal and write down whatever pops into your mind. Do I hear you say: this is stupid??? maybe but it’s very interesting to know what’s going on in your mind, actually my mind too 🙂
For example it could look like this: I have to do the dishes, I really don’t like what so and so said yesterday, I am tired of doing this, why should I write down my thoughts, oh I forgot to buy toilet paper, this person doesn’t like me, I don’t want to do this, the potato soup was not good, it’s raining again, I don't know what to do…… It’s a mindfulness meditation to be aware of your thoughts.
This simple action step can change your life, if you chose to do it. Mindfulness Meditation is a great tool to help be more aware of your thoughts and feel yourself…. but it’s a process and won’t happen overnight.
Be willing to experiment.
- I have to be perfect
- I have to do this right
- I will not do this because I have to do it perfectly
Oh man….. perfectionism is a killer, it kills creativity, aliveness, joy, It can make people sick and invites them to give up. Experimenting and being playful is the opposite of perfectionism. What you need is the willingness to play, to make mistakes and yes, you MUST be willing to fail. Kids have this kind of presence and willingness, they always experiment and play until …….they grow up.
I'm sure you heard the stories of famous people for example: Steven Spielberg was rejected from schools several times, Albert Einstein had a learning disorder, Thomas Edison was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything, Henry Ford failed at several businesses. There are many others who failed many times, some over years but they did not give up, they kept experimenting until eventually…. they succeeded.
By changing one simple thing, YOUR ATTITUDE, you can change your life. Try it out, set little experiments for yourself and just play and enjoy whatever you are doing.
- Don’t try to do it right,
- Don’t be serious
- Don’t be attached to the outcome…..just play.
Now be aware of how it feels. Does it feel any different, are you experiencing more joy, is it more fun to do things… even if some things are not exactly fun? Watch yourself, write it down and keep experimenting and noticing. Get to know yourself, be your best friend.
Accept that new behaviour is uncomfortable
This is a tough one, but it's an important part of the new game…..why should I be doing something that is uncomfortable? We are creatures of habit, even if the habits are not good for us. Smoking for example can calm you down, but most people know that it can kill you.
To be a perfectionist feels comfortable… to experiment might not, even if it’s a lot healthier for you. Working too much is a habit and working less will feel very uncomfortable. Putting yourself down feels comfortable, celebrating what you do right might feel uncomfortable. Taking time off and just playing will feel uncomfortable but is actually a good thing…..and on it goes.
When you start doing new things it will feel weird and you have to know that this is normal and not be discouraged by it. This is why people abandon their dreams, it’s that important!!!! Write it on a poster or set a reminder on your phone, tatoo it on your hand, whatever will help you remember, just do it! I am doing new things and I am willing to play. I invite you to play to win 🙂
Leave a comment and let me know how it works for you. do you have any tricks you would like to share?