There is a famous philosophy that is incredibly obvious but not necessarily understood:
“Try, even if you fail”.
This can translate into a perfectionist’s worst nightmare.
Because who wants to fail?
I singlehandedly admit I am a perfectionist (whilst ironically writing this article). I would commit to a task but never embrace it in-depth because of the subconscious fear of failure.
And many of us have this exact same issue.
One experience of mine was singing. Every note, harmony, audio quality, and timing had to be perfect. I would often record the song, be proud, post it, then 30 seconds later take it down. I’m fully aware that if you analyse your own song you will start to hear things differently, leaving room for doubt. But I still wanted it to be perfect.
So I just stopped recording.
And now my voice has digressed and my performance skills are not up to par.
The problem with a perfectionist-like mentality is that you become closed-in and stuck.
Let’s think of it as if you were to complete a task. The task is of neutral status: it has not been completed and so there is no definitive outcome.
This task may succeed but it also may fail. Or the result may just be average.
Your mind won’t let you complete the task to its fullest because you won’t give yourself the opportunity to accept the mentality of failing. Or the mentality of just being mediocre.
So you avoid it.
This stops progress.
Which means, in the long-term, you haven’t established a mentality to deal with anything in-between success and failure.
Future tasks in front of you become more challenging and/or meaningless because you have no place in your mind for anything but success.
But life does not work that way. Nor will it help you develop mentally.
Think of it like a washing line. If you only have a pin on one side of the line and not the other, the string won’t be able to hold up any of the pegs in order to hang up the clothes. So if you want to hang up a wide range of clothes (i.e. perform a variety of tasks), you aren’t able to do so.
There will always be different types of tasks that have the potential to change you for the better, but not necessarily give you the result you so desire at the time.
Might I add, experiencing failure and the mentality to expose yourself to failure are two very different things. You can experience it (because everyone does), but if you do not accept it as an inherent part of life, then you will never progress.
Looking to the new year and the new semester – why not try, even if you try badly?