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.
What I’m reading —
The Opposite of Toxic Positivity by Scott Barry Kaufman / The Atlantic
There’s no question that most people are going through a difficult time right now. It’s pointless to be overly positive or pretend that everything is OK. But tough times can make us stronger, and as Kaufman writes, “the human capacity for resiliency is quite remarkable and underrated.”
One powerful way we can bounce back quicker from life’s hardships is to cultivate existential gratitude. Doing so can help us find the hidden benefit and opportunities for growth in everything — even during a global pandemic.
What I’m listening to —
Sergey Young: The Longevity Revolution is Here / The Rich Roll Podcast
According to Young, a Russian engineer who is fascinated by longevity, living to 150 or 200 years old is no longer science fiction — it’s something that will probably happen in most of our lifespans. And living healthily to that age is more likely than ever, too — meaning I’ll probably be doing handstands until I’m 145! 😉
There are so many fascinating implications when considering longer lives, such as: How should the constructs of society be altered to support longer lives? Should our lives consist of a bunch of ‘mini lives?’ Will having multiple careers throughout our lives become more normal? How will living longer impact the environment? How will this change our relationship to time and space? So. Many. Questions.
A quote that inspires me —
“No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” ― Epictetus
What I’m training —
Hip thrusts have become all the rage as athletes realize that building hip strength and stability is a crucial part of building a strong, unbreakable body. You don’t need to do heavy weighted thrusts in order to get the benefit from them. I include a few sets of regular and single leg hip thrusts as part of my warm up.
Three new workouts —
12-Minute Dynamic Conditioning HIIT Workout (12 minute, jump rope)
224 Rep Get Stronger Challenge Workout (Time challenge, pull up bar, sandbag or dumbbells)
Explosive Medicine Ball 12-Minute AMRAP Workout (AMRAP, medicine ball)
And here’s a full body gym workout I posted on Instagram.
Remember, you can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete (this is WAY cheaper than joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer! In addition, you’ll be helping to support the site and making future features to the app possible.).
As always, I value your feedback, so please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!
Here’s to being imperfect,
PS. I’m excited to announce that I’m going to be a coach once again for the upcoming Transcend course with psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman. It’s an 8-week course focused on helping you grow and self-actualize in all areas of your life.
The last few rounds of the course have been incredible, and I have no doubt this one will be, too. I’d love for you to join us! The course starts on September 5th. Check out the course info here.