Not perfect

My friends, family and even some of my colleagues have accused me of being a perfectionist far too many times than I would want.

It doesn’t make any sense. In fact, I used to hate perfectionists! Who wouldn’t? Don’t they waste a ton of time to just get everything right? Boy, I’ve worked with them. It’s a tiresome experience to deliver even the simplest of projects/assignments.

Moreover, I am pretty easy going. I’m forgiving of the people around me when they make bloopers/blunders, so long as everyone’s learning from the experience and making progress (albeit slow). When it comes to outcomes or just getting things done, I’m flexible as I know things just won’t be perfect.

And I know, “perfection is the enemy of good.” So why on earth would people frame me as a perfectionist?

Didn’t make sense. Before it did this past weekend.

At the kettlebell workshop that I attended, I noticed that I was pushing myself too hard to learn each and every aspect of the lifts and practicing them hard to ensure that I get it right. My coach picked up on that and advised me to dial down on the aggression and ensure that failing is okay.

You can’t learn it all in a single day. It will take years to master a simple basic exercise like the kettlebell swing. Just focus on the fundamentals. Refinement takes time. A lot of time. Be patient.

He went on to give me an analogy of the number Zero.

Sure, it’s not a perfect number. But if that’s a number you want to get at (think of Zero as your end goal) by dividing two numbers. You’ll simply fail. For example:

  1. 10 / 2 = 5
  2. 5 / 2 = 2.5
  3. 2.5 / 2 = 1.25
  4. 2.5 / 2.5 = 1
  5. 1.25 / 2 = 0.625
  6. 0.625 / 2 = 0.3125
  7. 0.3125 / 2 = 0.15625
  8. 0.15625 / 2 = 0.078125
  9. 0.078125 / 2 = 0.0390625
  10. 0.0390625 / 2 = 0.01953125

You got the idea. Right? Even if you keep dividing the result by 2 (it could be any number) the best result that you will ever get is 0.000000000000001. Divide this further by 2 and you’ll get 5.551115123125783e-16.

That’s the calculator’s way of telling you to get real!

The crux is despite your best intentions there’s only so much you can do to get to where you want to. And even when you have, it probably isn’t perfect. So, rejoice in whatever you have right now and go from there.

For me, I should focus on enjoying the process of learning and building the skill than getting a lift just right.

Outside the gym, I’ve wasted countless hours obsessing over a brilliant idea. Only to kill it myself. Why? I focused a little too much on the granularity of why or why not my idea would work.

I’ve had my challenges maintaining this blog. The domain name. The theme. Heck, the content that I write and share with you every day.

Life’s like that. A set of ideas. And a set of outcomes. What lies in between is just action. You can either waste your time thinking about the action or get your hands dirty and find out for real if your effort was worth your time.

But despite your best intentions, there will always be things that you cannot change. Be okay with that.