“It’s strange how caring can make you act in a way that sabotages your own shit.”
Perfectionism and procrastination. Two massive barriers to success I’ve suffered from many times over. When I’ve aimed for perfect nothing good ever happens. Nothing happens at all actually…
Perfectionism kills many things. Often before they even begin.
Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. It leads to procrastination by masking other issues, such as fear of failure…
‘Oh, I’m not done yet because I want it to be perfect.’
‘Let’s spend more time wedding planning because we want it to be perfect.’
‘Let’s not have children yet, we need to wait for the perfect time. Like when we have a bigger house and more money.’
‘Why don’t we wait to go on that dream holiday until the kids are older, I want it to be perfect.’
‘I don’t want to start a business until I’ve got three degrees and more experience. I want to feel worthy and I don’t want to fail.’
Here’s the thing though, someone will get drunk at your wedding and fuck something up. The staff could let you down, the place could set on fire! It’ll probably all end in divorce eventually anyway.
Kids will always be hard work at times on holiday.
If you’re a career procrastinator then you’ll probably never get to that ‘dream place’ financially or otherwise. Where did you think you’d be today five years ago? Are you there? Or have you been over-planning rather than executing…?
There’s never a perfect time to do anything in life. And by not starting something you are already failing, you’ll never get the time back. You can only win in the game of business and life by playing. By rolling the dice.
My wedding was great, but a guest still spilt red wine all over the cream carpet in the bridal suite. Other bad things happened too.
‘BUT THIS ISN’T HOW WE PLANNED IT?!’
The amount of time I’ve heard well-meaning losers say that is staggering. It’s like they are ignoring life, and the way it works every single day right in front of their faces. When has anything ever played out perfectly?
You cannot control 99% of things. The weather, other people, terrorists, politics, natural disasters, bad drivers, even ourselves. So why waste time and energy planning for every eventuality. It’s not even possible to predict every eventuality.
Most things people try and perfect are subjective. You might love what you’ve done but others might hate it. So, does perfectionism even exist?
Some guys like fat women over thin one’s. What’s perfect for one, isn’t for someone else.
As an ex-perfectionist, I can tell you that getting out of the habit of perfect has changed everything for me.
I enjoy the process of life more now, rather than worrying too much about the result. I’d rather post ten articles with mistakes in rather than one ‘perfect’ one.
I’d rather have five failed businesses before a success rather than never starting.
So, how did I get out of the rut?
I decided not to care anymore, about most things.
Obviously, I don’t want my family to die. But I don’t want to care about how my own future is going to play out. I’ll just do the best I can and I’m sure the rewards will come.
I have strategies, but they are liquid strategies. I can execute, adjust, then execute some more in a new direction. I can accept short term defeats and disappointments along with way, they can’t be avoided.
The day you decide not to care too much, everything changes. You become free, and your all-round awesomeness is portrayed everywhere.
Related article — How to Become a World Class Version of Yourself
Let me explain…
I don’t worry about ‘important’ business meetings anymore. Even if the deal could change everything. And what’s happened as a result…?
I’m confident, relaxed, funny and genuine. I’m not tense in my chair, worried, unnatural and boring. I’m not sucking up and sabotaging my own negotiating power by coming off as desperate.
By not worrying, I give myself a far better chance of succeeding.
Look at all the successful people you know. Do they look worried about the next thing? Or are they commanding rooms, confident, showing off their flair, and having fun along the way?
I don’t worry about my wife leaving me. When I do, I get jealous, nervous, and act like a dick. If she does leave me, I can’t control that anyway. I’m the best husband I can be.
It’s strange how caring can make you act in a way that sabotages your own shit.
I don’t worry about events working out the exact way they were planned. I can relax, enjoy them more, and actually participate like everyone else, rather than being a mere spectator.
I know things are going to go wrong on holiday from time to time. I now try and accept it, and enjoy all the other aspects. When our flight got cancelled on our honeymoon last year I lost the plot, that didn’t make the airline want to break the regulations and fly me to L.A.
This is all a work-in-progress by the way. I’m still in the extreme infancy of adopting this new behaviour. I’m going to break these rules all the time and that’s OK. We are emotional beings, not rational one’s.
The power is in the knowing. And making small corrections to your mindset over time.
Life will play itself out in its own way. It has no regard for you, or your well laid out plans. Adapt to what life throws at you, rather than expecting life to adapt to you.
Don’t let perfectionism, procrastination and worry block you from your dreams. Make mistakes and learn from them. Get in the game. Be prolific, not perfect.
And if you’re thinking this post went off on random tangents, you’re probably right, but what can I say — I’m not perfect.
Thank you for reading. If you haven’t done so already, you can download my new e-book, ‘The Business of Life Playbook: 50 life-changing tactics to design a rich life’ for free. 20 pages, 7,000 words, 50 sections. Crafted so that you can read small snippets at a time, this is a perfect tool for the busy professional looking to advance their career / business. Check it out here — TBOL Playbook