Make it (perfect?)
Aiming to be perfect can be paralysing. Whether we're painting a picture, writing a song, sewing a dress or forming our own cult - we all start out wanting it to be positively poifect. Which is great! Aim high, be all you can be, etc etc. But when things start to go down hill, or we realise that it's not going to be as impeccably immaculate as we might like - we abandon ship. We smack our faces down on the big red "EJECT" button and get the hell out of there. Abort - ABORT! We must not create something that isn't flawless! Our good name will be tarnished!
It's this type of thinking that used to kill my productivity. I'd be mid way through a painting, and I'd suddenly start to notice some defects. At first, I'd try to go back and fix them. But by the time I was half way through fixing them, I'd notice some new blemishes starting to take hold. I'd be staring my own inadequacy in the face - and eventually, I'd abandon the painting, never to be finished. I mean, what's the point in finishing it if it's not going to be perfect?
Eventually, I had a room full of incomplete art attempts. Failures - but not because they were imperfect. Failures because I gave up on them. It was discouraging to say the least. Not only did I feel like I couldn't even finish a damn painting, but also felt like I wasn't any good either. Having impeccable taste comes at a price - impossibly high standards for myself. A lot of creative types can probably relate to this. The people we admire are so er-mer-gerd-amaze, that we expect nothing less of ourselves.
Somewhere along the way, I set myself a goal. Finish a painting. Doesn't matter how bad it is - just MAKE IT. And I did. It was imperfect. It was beautiful. And it was finished. The sense of satisfaction finishing a painting gave me was phenomenal. All those flaws? Simply inspired me to do better next time. And you know what I realised? You get a lot better, a lot faster, by producing imperfect finished pieces. Because you naturally progress in skill every time you produce something. You learn from those flaws, and move on. Feeling super-terrific about completing something! Huzzah!
These days I smile at my imperfect creations. I look down at that one slightly wobbly line that drives me insane - and I smile. Because I know that imperfection is part of the creative process, and even the top dogs in their fields aren't perfect. So let's all be proud of what we can create, without placing unrealistic standards on ourselves.