If you're afflicted with this idea that you need something to be perfect - whether that be a skill, deliverable, project, whatever - you probably know how crippling it can be. You'll spend 2x as much time getting something from 90% to 100% as you did getting it from 0% to 90%.
A while back I started thinking about how little I learned in college/high school, and then realizing that I was dead wrong. I definitely learned a lot of concepts, most of which are applied in totally different ways than my teachers and professors intended.
Take calculus for example. Don't really care about it in my day to day life...doesn't help me much. But the concept of limits has been awesome for understanding how to view perfection and growth in general.
If you're unfamiliar, a limit is a value that a function "approaches" - never to actually reach the value...which is why it's called the limit.
If you view your progression at anything as a limit approaching perfection, I guarantee you'll have a much better time in life. For example, if you're trying to ship out a project for a client, it's often best to ship it out at 95% rather than 100%. You might be thinking that this shortchanges the client's investment in you, but it's not true. Shipping out at 95% allows you to ship something else out at 95% instead of spending that time on the last 5% of the initial deliverable.
Let's look at a skillset now. Take piano for example, an instrument my mom forced me to start playing in 2nd grade (THANKS MOM!). I could slave away at it and get to GOD-MODE, or I could practice it and a few other instruments a little bit each day and get pretty damn good - but not amazing. Every practice session is approaching perfection, but I'll never actually get there, because perfection is impossible.
Very true. The way I view it, the limit IS perfection. But as you said, you will approach perfection more and more, but never reach perfection. Now here's my little twist to it. Knowing that perfection (our supposed limit) is impossible to achieve implies that in reality there are no limits. Because now you know there's always a next level. There are no limits, but plateaus. It's like a dangling carrot in front of your nose. And, after all, if perfection was something achievable, we would hit the limit and get bored.
2011 has been a year where I’ve taken action on some things that have made me feel very uncomfortable. I joined Toastmasters in early January, and gave my first speech in February. Why? I don’t have a direct need to learn public speaking – I don’t work in a position that requires it, and I don’t have any (current) plans to become a public speaker.
I did it simply because I didn’t want to do it. It was something I’d tossed around in my head for ages. ”I’ll get around to it,” I would say. Then when it came time to join, I would end up saying to myself, “Only weird people join groups like that. It’s not for me.”
Finally I realized that I was limiting myself in a major way, so I went to a local club as a guest and checked it out. I was pleasantly surprised at how supportive everyone was and how committed they were to becoming better at this craft. It’s now been almost seven months since I joined, and I’m halfway through the first speech manual, as well as the acting Sergeant of Arms for our club. I’ve engaged in a project to redesign the website for my chapter, and have met some truly awesome and inspiring people. Oh and my public speaking skills have gotten better, too.
Seek not to be comfortable as a state of being. Seek instead to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, this is where true growth lies. There will always be a fake reason behind why you shouldn’t do something – try to look behind this.
While reading The Personal MBA, I came across a method called the Five Fold Why. It’s used to discover the true reason behind any goal you might have. For example, if one of your goals is “Get to 10% bodyfat”, you’d begin by asking “Why do I want to get to 10% bodyfat?” to which you might respond, “I want to look and feel better.” Then ask, “Why do I want to look and feel better?” and keep doing this until you get to the true reason – when the answer to your question is “Because I want it.”
I was more F than A or C, but any way you look at it, I was an AFC. An Average Frustrated Chump. I had a crush on a girl named Renee, who lived on my floor in the dorm.
For weeks I lived in agony, wondering if she liked me. I'd make subtle hints and get back subtle responses which weren't nearly conclusive enough for me to do anything about it.
Things came to a head on Friday night. I had to ask her. Not in person, of course. On AIM.