“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you got, and fix it along the way…” – Paul Arden
By the time I have published this post, I would have probably made about 10+ revisions to it. Working hard at each sentence to ensure it reads the way it should. I would have probably spend a good amount of time ensuring I picked the correct title, picked the right image to display and of course, I would have read it over and over and over. But you know what? I followed through with it, I didn’t wear myself out in thought before I typed the first letter.
Last summer I was told by a great therapist that I had perfectionist tendencies. I was really shocked by that. I had never thought of myself as a perfectionist. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I was just thankful that my anxiety had a cause. Being a perfectionist is not an illness, it is simply a frame of mind. It was liberating to understand how my decision making process worked.
You see, I would get anxious just sitting in a room to watch some TV if the room was not tidy. I would sometimes drop a household project just because I would wear myself out thinking and trying to plan it out. There would even be times I would avoid new social situations as I would worry that I could not be myself. I severely limited my life based on the thought I could not perform or come out with a positive outcome. I simply would not allow fate to do it’s thing.
You may be thinking that I am obsessive compulsive, but that isn’t necessarily true. Folks with O.C.D. will obsess over something until they act, they rarely back down from their desire to complete a task regardless of the outcome. In my case, I will spend a copious amount of time thinking and re-thinking every possible outcome. I will then either become exhausted and give up or I will proceed. What is shameful is that there are countless times I have stood in my own way from carrying out some really great ideas. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t do it right… my outcome would not be favorable. This kind of thought process is downright tiring and very life draining.
Now, being a person with perfectionist tendencies isn’t all bad. Like all things in life, you need to find balance. One of the benefits to this trait is that whenever I do perform a task, I tend to get positive results because I will be relentless in achieving what I deem as perfection. I also am a very conscience thinker, therefore I rarely make terrible life decisions and I understand cause and effect very well. But, my biggest problem comes from when my thought process is out of balance and I begin to try and push perfection in others. I start to get in my own way and I become consumed by my own thoughts.
Knowing that I am a perfectionist doesn’t mean I give up. It just means I now know what my triggers are and I understand myself more. From time to time I do find myself wandering down my perfectionist thought path, but at least now I can catch it and stop it. I have found that frequent exercise, reading quality books, writing my thoughts and walking (lots of walking) have worked to keep my thoughts from consuming me. I find now, I am willing to take more risks. Like being completely transparent to you, the reader!
Updated resolution numbers:
204 of 1000 KMs walked
13 of 50 blog entries posted
5 of 10 books read