The subtle art of being an imperfectionist

Although I’ve never been a fan of shitty first drafts, embracing the concept has been life-changing. It has made me far more productive as a writer and leader than my previous avatar that was so selfish, controlling, and a perfectionist.

I was a pain-in-the-ass for others and, most importantly, myself. My outlook never allowed me to progress at the pace I truly deserved. I was seeking perfection because I was hiding behind my fears of being called an imposter, fake, pretentious, and whatnot.

Over the years, I’ve realised that the rawness in our work is what makes us unique. It’s vulnerable, ugly, minimal, and gorgeous, all the same time. And interestingly, it’s precisely what we’re hell-bent on hiding from the rest of the world.

Sure, it might not meet the standards of some people, but who cares? What will happen if people don’t care about your work? And what will happen if they start watching? Would it change you? How will people’s reactions to your work impact your thoughts and views as a human being?

Those are tough questions. But if you care enough to answer them, you will be liberated from the stupid notion of meeting standards and expectations because you will start setting your own.

I’ll be honest — the secret of being productive is to get moving with anything. You want to knock off items from your to-do list, get started with something; anything would do. You want to get writing, start writing, anything stupid, insane, or mindless would do. The important thing is to create momentum. To make something.

Why? Because when you start to get things done, you will get out of your way and see the task for what it is. And that will help you figure out a better way to get the job done. Likewise, when you have your ideas written down, you’ve got it out of your head to see what it is. And then, you’re ready to figure out what it needs to be or can become.

I’ve heard Seth Godin say this several times, “you don’t write because you can think of something; you think of something because you write.” The important thing, as always, is to get out there and do something. Anything. But get going anyway.

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