Time and time again I realize that something happens when I commit to a project. The perfectionist in me takes over.
I see it over and over in many facets of my life.
Working as a construction cleaner, way back in my Calgary days, I was constantly being urged to work faster, to let the little details go – we’d be coming back in a week or so anyways to reclean the drywall dust from everything anyways. But it was hard for me to not do my best. To not take the time to really make the place sparkle.
Some of you may not know this, but I’m also a bit of an artist in my (now sparingly) spare time. I love to work with pencils, to recreate images of pieces of my life (and others, when they’ve asked or as gifts) that hold a special meaning to me. People, animals, items, and places that hold a special meaning get a very thorough looking-at when I sit down to copy every minute detail that makes itself known in the picture I’m working from. I spend hours and hours making the drawing just right.
But it doesn’t matter how much effort and time I put into a piece. There is not one picture I’ve finished that I look at later, having “finished”, and think – “Yes. It’s done.” I can always find a reason why I “should have” kept working to make it perfect.
In all of my projects, in both of my university experiences, I’m fairly certain I put in more hours than most of my classmates, reading, re-reading, editing, adding to all of my papers, and going above and beyond to make each project “perfect”. I always received a grade that reflected my work, but was I really making the best of my time? Would I still have got a top grade if I hadn’t spent the extra hours painstakingly going through each page of my documentation projects to make sure there was not a single speck of pencil still showing from when I first wrote down my words in pencil, before going over them again in pen?
Sometimes, I notice that I put a lot of effort into the pieces that maybe don’t matter as much in the overall picture. I know doing my best always pays off, and that one should always strive for perfection, but…. what is perfect anyhow?
Now I see this side of myself again, showing through and taunting me while I try to enter into the world of blogging.
Each post I make, I am consistently holding myself from going back to “fix it”. New ideas, or better ways of phrasing keep taunting me that I didn’t do a “good enough” job explaining what I set out to say.
I’m beginning to really realize that I need to take my own advice. “There’s no such thing as perfect.” I use it often speaking with children and adults alike, assuring them that they’ve done a wonderful job on whatever their effort went to. That they should be happy with what they DID do, and not dwell on minute details that, at the end of the day, aren’t going to make a difference in the big picture.
Why is it so easy to give advice, yet so hard to take it back for yourself?
There IS no such thing as perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist. There will always be the option to enhance something. To keep working. To spend forever working in search of the unattainable “perfect”. I will never be able to include every single detail, in every single way, in every single project. And I need to be okay with that.
Sure, I will always do my best at what I do, but I also need to realize when to stop. When to say “I’ve done good” and be satisfied that what I did do is enough.
Life is perfectly imperfect, and it’s all of our imperfections that make for a more interesting world.