Why perfection is a pain in the ass
What if we decided to let go of this massive struggle that is the quest for perfection?
I decided it would be a perfect subject to start this blog! As you can see, the website is just not ready, I don’t have a logo, I don’t even have the good domain name! But my friend challenged my to write and publish one article everyday in march, so I don’t really have a choice : honoring my word is more important than anything else. So let’s do this, even if it’s faaaaar from being perfect :)
So why is perfection such a problem in our lives?
I discovered there is even a fancy greek word for this :
ATELOPHOBIA (so now you can look like a pretentious know-it-all at parties, yep don’t thank me!) Which means literally the fear of imperfection : it’s is the fear of not being good enough. Sounds familiar? It looks not like much said like this but it leads to a lot of real troubles : anxiety, depression, and even suicide in the worst cases.
I know that the quest for perfection can make our life like hell : we feel like we are not good enough, that we are not ready yet to publish this artwork, that we are to fat to deserve to be loved, too old to learn this new skills. We are just not ready. To the point we don’t even start anywhere. It becomes this massive block. I don’t need to remember you that almost all the signals from the world we are living in are remembering us on a daily basis how imperfect we are. For some of us it’s our parents, it’s our grades from school, it’s the influencers on social medias, the thin young girls on magazines, the advertising trying to sell you stuff, anything, just pick your favorite one!
I can’t tell you how many people told me « I really want you to photograph me but I will come when I loose 5 kilos! ». (kinda 10 pounds) These people usually never come for a photoshoot : they are waiting to be the perfect version of themselves which will never exist, because there is always going to be something they don’t like. It’s the eternal internal fight between seeking what you don’t have, or realizing what you already have and be grateful for it.
So as a result, we procrastinate, we think we are looking for perfection where in fact we waste our time not doing the stuff we love and not living the life we want. We are looking for the perfect conditions (which will never exist of course)
As a creator, we are first in line when it comes to this damn fear of imperfection : it’s hard to know if our idea is good, if it worth the time and energy to create it, sometimes it is so hard to know when our creation is just over (I swear I could spend 18 more hours on retouching any picture!). Sometimes we never finish what we start, sometimes we finish but never share it to the world, sometimes we never let go. And most of the time we don’t even start this new piece or this new project, because we are so afraid to fail that this fear is paralyzing us. We’d rather do nothing than doing something incorrectly.
Ahah as I am writing and realizing that I am so guilty of this! There is not a moment I don’t get terrified before a creative photoshoot, I fear I will suck, that I will waste the time of my model, that I won’t be able to deliver what I imagined.
Are we doomed forever? What tangible things can we do to release a bit of pressure :
The best advice I can give is to set yourself a deadline :
But a real one, with real grown-up consequences. It’s easy to respect deadlines when you have clients and a project to deliver, but when it comes to personal project and creation, it is another whole procrastination story. For example, because my friend is helping me in the process of creating this blog, I just don’t want to disappoint her : she told me I would have to write one article every day, so I am doing it. And trust me, if it was just for me, I would be sleeping right now or watching Netflix (or both at the same time!!) But I have to write this before the end of the day!! So I am grateful to have her supporting me here, because this would’t exist!
So the second one is : find yourself someone you are accountable for :
A coach, a mentor, someone who will support you and encourage you to go to the right direction. From personal experience I wouldn’t recommend a close friend or family, because it’s hard to get an objective feedback on what we are doing when feelings are involved. And most of the time people that are not working in a creative industry won’t have any idea what to say to you to help you. I remember my mum would always be silent and say something like “oh. it looks “real” - what do you mean real? -mmh like it looks like a real photography from a magazine - NO KIDDING THIS IS MY JOB FOR LIKE TEN YEARS DAMNIT!” (I never said I was the most patient perfect person ever :D ) . Surround yourself by a positive tribe of people who are respecting your vision, who are understanding it and encouraging you work.
For the challenge of one article a day, I am actually not by myself : we are three entrepreneurs doing it (the others have to publish one video a day, not easy either!!) We share a group on Facebook, and I find this HIGHLY motivating. We are pushing each other, we share our struggles, and whatever happens I know there are at least two people who are expecting to read my work everyday! I just don’t want to disappoint them, and I don’t feel alone in this adventure anymore :)
I would say the last one is to be more mindful, and to challenge our vision of perfection :
Is spending 6 more months on this really help us reach our goals? I am happy to accept how imperfect this website is at the moment, it has plenty of time to grow, it will change and evolve with me. I acknowledge the fact that my english is not perfect, but it’s alright, it does not matter : what matters is that I finally have a place to share my experiences with all of you, and that maybe it will help you somewhere in your life. This is more important to me than having a perfect logo (and that’s a passionate designer saying this!!) I acknowledge my fear of failing, I am not especially pushing it away, and it is here for sure, but I don’t let it take control of my life. “oh hey it’s you again! Yep I see you, and yep I am listening to you, and yep I understand why you are afraid but nope you are not in charge!”.
I am letting you on one of my favorite quote ever ever EVER from Chuck Palahniuk (the guy who wrote Fight Club <3 )
“The air will always be to filled with something. Your body too sore or tired. Your father too drunk. Your wife too cold. You will always have some excuse not to live your life.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted
Do you recognize yourself this article? Do you think perfection is blocking you from starting something? What would you do if failing was totally alright? I am really curious and would love to know your experience hehe :)
LOVE TO ALL ET PLEIN DE BISOUS!