So many of us have a bad habit of wanting to be perfect.
We try something challenging, and rather than focus on what we’ve done well, we zoom in on our flaws and only notice everything we’ve done imperfectly.
I often catch myself doing this when I’m training handstands or martial arts, two of my main training focuses at the moment. I’ll watch videos of myself training and pick apart every single thing I did wrong.
Doing so zaps my motivation and fills me with negative self-talk. Worse, it often leaves me feeling like my efforts are pointless — I’ll never live up to my idea of perfect, so why even try?
Of course, logically, this way of thinking makes no sense.
Trying to be “perfect” rarely leads to progress. For most of us, it results in procrastination and means we fail to put our full effort forward since we’re so worried about making mistakes.
But making mistakes along the way to our goals is how we learn. Mistakes, it turns out, are crucial to opening the door up to neuroplasticity — our brain’s ability to learn and change.
As Ryan Holiday writes, “Perfectionism rarely begets perfection, or satisfaction — only disappointment.”
Aim to be perfect, and you’ll never be good enough. You’ll be overwhelmed by self-doubt. You’ll be likely to give up and not even try.
Don’t aim for perfection. Aim to give your best, knowing that your imperfect efforts will one day add up to something meaningful.