Freedom Blog

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Perfection Paralysis

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

Perfection Paralysis

Written by Steven Griggs |

The maxim “Nothing but perfection” may be spelled “Paralysis”             Winston Churchill

“Too late I found out you can’t wait to be perfect, you got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else”                                                                            Ray Bradbury

I think we’ve all experienced it. It happens when you either can’t start something or you can’t finish it.

You just stop.

But what is happening? Some call it procrastination but procrastination is really the symptom of this effect.

What is it that makes us unable to proceed?

It is fear.

It is the fear of being imperfect, of being ridiculed or judged.

Once we create something, be it an article, a blog or piece of art and we put it out there to be read and seen, we become vulnerable.

Now we can be hurt.

It is a common thing for many artists and writers to reach a point where they can’t complete the project. They have to keep reviewing, rechecking and reediting and touching up. It can get way out of hand.

I have done this many times myself with my writing and art. One time I had the same picture sit on my easel for over a year. It was a water color of a broken wine bottle and I was at the crucial stage of completing the puddles of red wine on the floor and I couldn’t do it.

The picture was great up to that point but I was afraid I would ruin it.

Ruin it? This is an interesting idea because how could I ruin a painting I created? Whatever I created is my creation, right? I painted it this way and that’s what it is, period.

Well it didn’t feel that way.

And that was when I started realizing that I was fearful. I had a fear (limiting belief )  about not being good enough.

This is a paralyzing aspect of the limiting belief of poor or low self-esteem.

There really is no such thing as perfection and if you are striving for perfection, who is the judge? Who is judging you?  Who do you have to be perfect for?

Many ancient artisans including the American Indians would purposely make a mistake in a thing they were creating. Indian women when beading a garment or bag would put a bead of the wrong color in the item to make it imperfect. It wasn’t always very obvious but once you found it you knew it was done on purpose.

They believed that only the Great Spirit could be perfect and that any human trying to be perfect would be considered arrogant and insulting.

And you don’t want to mess around with the Great Spirit.

But I think they were on to something. They were making the statement that they were less than perfect. They were imperfect.

And that’s what we are. No one is perfect but we are all perfectly imperfect.

Each one of us is unique. We are each one of a kind. We don’t look the same, we don’t do things the same way. We each create our own project, product or artwork our way. We create it like no one else.

I have read that some artists and writers reach a point where they are about 80% done but at that point consider the project basically completed. In other words they know the project is done except for maybe the final chapter or some last minute touch ups or fill-ins on the painting.

They understand that every project reaches a point when it is done. They can’t add one more word or brush stroke to it. It is done and it’s time to let it go.

It’s time to move on to the next project.

So how do we deal with the limiting belief inside that holds us back by seeking perfection, which keeps us from completing our work and moving on to the next project?

If you are a creator, you have to create. If you have to stop because you fear criticism, then stop. Don’t create. Wait until it feels right.

But a funny aspect of this is that probably a major reason we create is because we feel inadequate in some way. We might get some of our creative energy from the very belief that tries to hold us back.

We can’t have it both ways. You can’t derive your creativity from a source and then worry about what that source might say about what you've created?

The answer is you have to create and then let it go. You have to be willing to show yourself to the world. 

So next time you feel hesitant about putting it out there, just do it. Force yourself to take the leap and say: “This is me. This is what I created. I want you to like it and get something from it but I’m only here for a short while and I've got a lot of stuff to do”.Take it or leave it because I don't have time to care.

If you fear a critic, have him bring his writings and his art and then you two can sit down and have a talk. You won't have to worry about that because a real creator doesn't criticize another artist.

Your fellow creators know what it's like, they have been through the same struggles as you so you have nothing to fear from them.

The ones that love you and love your work, they are the ones to care about.

That leaves everyone else and they don't get a vote.