The deadly duo of perfectionism and procrastination are two more mind habits to master. It's ironic but true that the very drive to better yourself and excel at your endeavors - can also work against you if you're not careful. Aiming for an unattainable ideal of perfection, for example, is demotivating. It's a moving target that keeps on receding as you draw near. Not very motivating is it? Procrastination sets in. On the road to inspired life change watch out for procrastination and perfectionism - you'll often see them walking hand-in-hand.
Striving to excel and perfect is admirable. That is...
... until it isn't.
You want to improve things, making them even better than they were before. You want to discover or invent better methods - you find easier, more efficient ways of doing things. You search for effectiveness by stripping away non-essentials. You push the envelope. You grow and evolve - inspired life change is constantly on its way.
How perfect is that?
If only we could stop there.
Striving for excellence is one thing. Allowing yourself to be satisfied with nothing short of attaining the ideal is quite another. Resistance immediately rears its ugly head. Friction and pressure mount. Struggle ensues. 'Analysis paralysis' may even set in - causing you to fall into the chasm between your need to take the next step, and your desire for that next step to be the 'perfect' one.
Perfectionism and procrastination have just caused you to shoot yourself in the foot half way up the mountain of ideals. Excellence - though striven for - gets pushed further and further away. 'Perfect' has just devolved into anything but.
What I'm about to say next may not sound very politically correct, but here goes...
You're probably better off regarding your ideals as something never to be achieved. Your ideals lead you to your achievements; but the ideal itself can never become one those achievements. An ideal is never meant to be achieved.
Ideals are bait, a mirage. They aren't the fish, the real thing. Next time you're struggling to complete a project or an assignment due to the deadly combo of perfectionism and procrastination, remember this. Your ideal isn't the goal. The goal is what happens along the way, so get moving!
Aristotle was definitely on to something with the quote above - the road under your feet is where perfection and excellence is to be found. It's in the 'here', not 'there'. It's in the 'now', not 'later'. Perfectionism and procrastination can only enter the picture when you get way ahead of yourself.
When you look down at your 'feet' what do you see? When you avert your gaze from the tantalizing ideals and images populating the future, what are you left with? Being asked to step out of the mind in this way - you encounter the body. How does it feel? How do you feel?
Are you feeling perfectly fine, or is perfection still imparted to a future yet to be defined?
Put distracting thoughts about the future aside - and you can feel where you stand. Are you feeling perfectly fine or are you postponing that feeling for another - more perfect time? Excellence isn't only something you repeatedly do; it must be something you repeatedly feel too.
What if you regarded perfection of feeling right here and now? Would that draw you closer or take you further away from your ideal and how? Strive for perfectly fine to keep perfectionism and procrastination at bay. Work skillfully with your subconscious mind to master your feelings and the rest of your day.
You know you're being dominated by the perfectionist and procrastinator within when...
You know you're beginning to master the perfectionist and procrastinator within when...
The challenge of perfectionism and procrastination comes from confusing ideals with achievements. The former is meant to lead to the latter, but they aren't one and the same.
After all, what is perfect? How is it to be measured? How do you decide when an ideal has become an achievement? Idealistic perfection, it seems, is a target constantly on the move.
The mind doesn't like moving targets. In search of the 'perfect solution', the 'perfect plan' or the 'perfect next step' - the mind freezes. Analysis paralysis sets in - the mind gets itself into a bind.
The trap of perfectionism is that it gets you so intently focused on results that you end up psyching yourself out of taking the necessary steps to completion. Instead of feeling perfectly fine in the present, you feel deeply disheartened.
Frustration and dissatisfaction set in. Mastering perfectionism and procrastination is to step out of the mind - returning to the reality of the moment, the only place perfection and excellence can truly be won.