“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time.”
― Rebecca Wells, The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder
Trying to be Perfect
Blogging about personal development has really brought a lot of positive things in my life. Each and every day, I’m learning more and more about myself and what I’ve been doing right and what I’ve been doing wrong and one of the things I discovered about myself that I’m sure most of you can relate to is my insatiable desire of trying to be perfect every time. I don’t know but no matter how hard I try, I still find myself striving to be perfect in some situations.
Force of habit? Probably.
Since I was little, I’ve been raised to be your traditional goody-two-shoes, always-follow-the-rule kind of guy. I’ve been told to always stick to the status quo and to always get everyone’s approval when it comes to doing things and believe me, I see no problem in being that kind of guy but looking back, I now realize that being Mr. Nice Guy may have caused me to miss out on a couple of things.
Do I regret being that kind of person? Of course not. Always going by the rules was my choice ever since my parents gave me the authority to decide for myself and I’m happy with the way my life has turned out but will I have mixed things up a little bit and tried to break some rules from time to time given the chance? I probably would have.
Perfectionism has its benefits but it also has its downside and if we’re not careful enough, it can do us more harm than good. We all need to stop trying to be perfect sometimes if we truly want to be happy and here are the reasons why:
You can’t reach your full potential if you’re too careful
One of the traits of highly successful people is their courage to take risks. If you watch interviews on people who has achieved great success, one of the things they have in common is their unbelievable confidence to put something important on the line without guaranteed success.
Take the case of Henry Ford, the popular inventor of the automobile who took crazy risks to meet success. Some of his business strategies were not only imaginative, they were also risky. One such strategy he gambled on was reducing the prices of his cars, so steeply that it if it didn’t materialize, would have caused him huge losses.
For most of us, the idea of entrepreneurship would always be second compared to being an employee. We’ve all been raised to have this mentality that having a stable job will keep us on the safe side. That our jobs will protect us and our families from going hungry so we’d rather be an employee and rely on a steady paycheck than dream of having our own business and earn more.
I love what comedian Jim Carrey said about his father in his commencement speech at the Maharishi University of Management. According to the ace comedian, his father wanted to become a comedian too but decided to get a “safe” job as an accountant. The same job that let him go and left his family struggling.
Unlike his father, Jim Carrey pursued his dream of becoming a comedian. He took the risk of going to auditions to land gigs than get a “safe” job that would have paid him consistently.
Break the rules from time to time
Some of the most successful people know how and when to break the rules or tweak them the way they see fit. One of the best examples of which is Bill Gates, who changed the software development game by opting for closed-source ethic instead of sticking with the open source practices which was the prevailing option during that time.
I had a colleague before who I consider a maverick, that is, a person who acts independently, willing to take risk, break rules, but get the job done anyhow. He would always be late for work, rarely attend meetings but performs better than the others. He wasn’t the most popular person in the office that’s for sure but his performance was second to none.
Be a maverick sometime. Break away from the norm but produce the result expected of you if not exceed them.
They say nice guys finish last especially when going after girls. Girls tend to pick the “bad boy” type compared to the closed-collar, decent geek and you know what’s the proof?
Have you ever heard a girl turn down a guy for being “too bad”? Of course not, it’s always because the guy is “too nice”.
Act based on what you want and not based on how you want others to perceive you
I’ve mentioned time and again in some of the articles published in this blog how we should avoid trying to please others. Doing such takes away our happiness and instead, increase the pressure we put in ourselves to please other people or win their approval. If you continue to try to impress people, the day will come, and you won’t even notice this, when you will realize that you’re living the life of another person and not yours.
We all have dreams of becoming somebody someday. Some of us want to be artists, basketball players or singers but we stop pursuing these dreams because we feel pressured by our parents’ or siblings status in life.
Ever noticed why lawyers often produce children who become lawyers too? Or doctors whose sons and daughters turn up to be doctors as well. I’m not generalizing but this is common and it’s not always because the parents pressured their children to pursue the same career. Sometimes, the children themselves are the ones who put pressure on themselves to pursue the same career their parents became successful with.
Don’t over-analyze everything
When you want things to be perfect, you want everything to go the way you planned it to. You prepare everything and evaluate the situations and scenarios carefully before acting on your plan. Sounds like procrastination doesn’t it?
In our fear of failing, we tend to over-analyze things and make sure that we get it all in one shot but that’s not how life goes does it? Making mistakes is what makes us human and failure happens even to the best of us. Instead of over-analyzing everything, why not do the most important thing…START! Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and make the big leap.
Is there a chance you may fail in doing this? ABSOLUTELY!
But who cares?
So what if we fail?
Pick yourself up and try again. That’s what life is all about. You can’t let perfectionism hold you back from what you can actually do. We all have big potentials. We are all capable of becoming someone someday but we won’t be able to reach that level of success if we’re always trying to be perfect.
Over to You
How are you trying to stop yourself from trying to be perfect? I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.
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