After accomplishing the feat of passing 100,000 words written for my book, I found myself suddenly in a state of despair.
Editing is perhaps the worst part of the creative process, at least it's how I immediately viewed it to be.
I shut down.
I avoided doing it.
I wrote more about other things completely unrelated to the cause of accomplishing my goal.
Because I viewed what I wrote so dispassionately at the start of my journey as utter bullshit.
Who is this guy?
So naive. So filled with nauseating visions of reality that don't even exist.
I attacked my work with the assumption that nearly half of it would be complete garbage. That I'd have to start anew.
As it would turn out, my perfectionism emerged from the fray as my next foe to tackle.
Perfectionism is best measured in failures to start with any task, activity, or project, due to fears associated with performance anxiety.
Why perform well? Well. You only get one shot to write a good book. Or so it seemed.
But after diving through multiple self-help books, TED talks, and getting mentoring from professionals who deal with doing big things, I've learned this is anything but the case.
Not everyone is going to make the perfect soufflet on the first try. But you bet your ass their hundredth is going to be a significant improvement from their first.
What is more important is identifying what it is that will get you to get off your ass than focus on whether or not you'll be successful.
Maybe a soufflet is too much to start with. So you look up other recipes that are similar to them so you can at least practice with baking a dish that has less consequences if you fail.
Maybe you just try making one for yourself. If it's only you that you have to impress, you will minimally be proud of yourself for accomplishing the task, even if you don't think it'll be the best.
In my explorations with Perfectionism, I have learned this land is deeply rooted in the world of Narcissism.
What else could it be that entitles us to think we can control the perspectives of others?
Where else could one find a more self-centered reason for not making the choice to show up?
Who else could care more about your life, your issues, and your struggles than you?
Everyone has their own problems, which is to say everyone deals with not feeling like they measure up to one of life's many Key Performance Indicators.
y = mx + b
If y is a function of x, meaning your result is an outcome of a certain level of input, then m is the method through which you apply yourself x, plus how you are being b in the moment.
m is the meta for whatever it is you're trying to do. Think strategy, method of approach, or "the how" we get what we want.
x is the time you allocate and commit toward a task.
b is the result of how much you dwell on what feeds your soul versus what feeds the desires of others.
Perfectionists are results-oriented, y-focused individuals.
When you drive toward Results, people see where you're going.
When you drive toward Being, people see where you're going.
When you drive toward Doing, people see where you're going.
When you drive toward Meta, people see where you're not going. Which is anywhere.
Either way, you are always making a choice in the moment to focus on one of these things.
Results are what we get over time but, if we focus on having the right result over whether we tried at all or how we were being through it all, we are more often assuaged to feel awful for even bothering.
Life never turns out how you'd expect. Shit happens. Fucked up shit happens. Sometimes, a lot of times, to people who don't deserve it.
And if you can get outside your own head for a minute you might be able to catch a glimpse of that in the eyes of anyone you bother to talk to.
That's not to say your problems don't matter. Holy shit no.
But if you are not getting the results you want in life, you need to stop blaming others or justifying a shitty attitude about life just because of something that happened to you in the past.
If you have a roof over your head, can get by without going into the red every month on your budget, and are able to be connected to the people you care about, then you have plenty to be grateful for.
What I'm trying to say here is, that if y = mx + b and you feel your y isn't going well, look at how you can change what you're doing or how you're being instead of dwelling on the results you're getting.
Perhaps, even better, you are getting shitty results because the way you are being is a person who dwells on shitty results and shitty outcomes and shitty situations over acknowledging the good in front of you.
When you're results-oriented and expect things to be perfect, you become obsessed over the fact that life is never what it is 'supposed to' be in our heads.
The data qualitatively show up to be a pile of shit, so it's hard not to dwell on such a staggering mountain of a molehill in comparison to what real problems of survival are going on for others out there.
Suffice to say, my excuses for not working on my book, and therefore myself, paled in comparison to recognizing the silliness in trying to be perfect in a world that frankly isn't and won't ever be.
One thing I have learned to appreciate since the pandemic started is the cunning of entrepreneurship; when life presents us with a new set of constraints to work with, some people exercise some massive creativity by bursting into new markets like never before. Enter stylish face masks. Different fits. Different colors. Different patterns.
It was amazing to see. What I took from such a phenomenon was the sooner you are able to accept the situation you are currently in and what you are working with, the sooner you can see the possibilities that lie in front of you.
It's impossible to focus on your rear-view mirror and the road in front of you with perfect clarity at the same time.
If you are constantly looking back at the person who nearly sideswiped you, you aren't going to see the deer in front of you on the road minding their own business.
So get back up. Be better for yourself so your future self will appreciate you for getting them to the party safely. Everyone wants to see you do well.
So be well.
Do what it takes to be well.
Editing oneself, as in one's behavior, is how we change the art of living our own lives.
Is there guilt involved? Yes.
Will the change help you in the long run? Yes.
Will you be appreciated for trying, even if you fail? Absolutely!