Do you really need to learn to be less perfect? Don’t we all have plenty of flaws and imperfections already? Sure, but just like so many of us, you may be trying very hard to be perfect, or at least to appear perfect. It’s certainly understandable, but chances are it’s not serving you very well. In fact, it may be stopping you from moving forward and creating the life you really want — a life that is, well, perfect for you.
I don’t know about you, but I used to believe that I was just trying to live up to my own and others’ expectations. However, what I really was doing was hiding. I was the perfect procrastinator. And being a perfectionist was such a comfortable way to hang out within the boundaries of my own comfort zone. Nobody would ever blame or judge a perfectionist for being too perfect or too thorough, so it was a safe place to stay. Unfortunately though, perfectionism is just a snobbish word for fear. It’s a socially accepted way of saying that we are not ready to be vulnerable or to be judged.
I was always waiting for the right moment, for the perfect circumstances. I waited for that magical time when I would have enough money, the right contacts and more freedom to do what I wanted to. I waited for the perfect idea, but I didn’t know what it was. All the ideas I did have, died on me quickly or seemed too unfinished or too unrealistic. So I kept perfecting life in my head. And it wasn’t just my dreams that had to be perfect. My job had to be perfect, my home had to be perfect and I had to be perfect. I spent decades in frustration because I didn’t have the ultimate answer to what I was going to do with my life and meanwhile that very same life was moving along without me. Finally, it got to the point where one too many projects had lost its spark while I was trying to polish and perfect it. I suddenly realized that the only thing that could truly take me to another level and to a happier life, was to change my own mindset.
I’m sure that you just want to get it right — believe me, I understand. But if you are waiting for all the stars to align, for when your idea is beyond amazing and for when you are fully trained to take on anything that comes your way, you are in for a very long wait. And it’s time to stop doing things well that shouldn’t be done at all. It’s so easy to get stuck on the details that are not taking you any closer to your dreams, instead of zooming out and getting a bird’s eye view of what you really want to achieve. Shouldn’t the purpose of your life be to pursue happiness and fulfillment rather than trying to impress your friends, your colleagues and your neighbors?
Let’s face it — there is no perfect plan and no perfect life project. Circumstances change, you change, your environment changes. So right now is as good a time as any to get started. Start with something easy and where the stakes are low.
Here are some suggestions to get you going:
*Try something you have never done before without a specific purpose or agenda. Take up salsa dancing, join a choir or take a painting class. Do it for pure joy.
*Accept that it is okay to be a beginner at something and to fumble, stumble and figure it out as you go. Be patient with yourself.
*Start a project that aligns with your curiosities and interests, but without having a plan for where it’s going.
*Realize that good enough can be just right and often even better than perfect.
*See it as an experiment. Don’t announce to the entire world that you are starting a new business, running a marathon or getting your PhD — just do it for fun and see where it goes. It’s not wasted time if you enjoy it and if it leads to a richer soul and a stimulated mind.
*Love yourself for who you are instead of trying to be something or someone else.
*Strive for improvement rather than perfection. It’s not only more admirable and fulfilling, but also attainable.
More tips and stories to help you grow your comfort zone can be found @detoursandshortcuts on Facebook.
Originally published at medium.com