The Power of Imperfect Action
I like to perfect things. I fancy the details. As a kid, I would obsess over sloppy penmanship on my binder paper, and I would erase a whole word if one of the letters didn’t look right. In highschool and college, I’d slave over papers longer than I had to, or stay up all night rethinking my concept for a design project because something wasn’t right. And even worse, I had begun to procrastinate in every way, because I began to dread the amount of effort it took for me to be thorough with every single detail of whatever task I had to perform. Everything required excellence. It was exhausting. As a working adult, now with grown-up things to worry about and bigger stakes on the line, I found that I could no longer take the pressure, and would sometimes decide simply not to do.
Today, is a perfect example of that. I had decided not to do. I was not going to keep my commitment to write and publish a blogpost by today. Because it required too many steps to be perfected: I’d have to first write the thing, make it amazing, have it be edited by my mentor for approval, by a certain time, and then post it with the perfect picture on HER site. My need to write an amazing sparkling piece this week, and the fear that I could not do that, kept me in the put-if-off cycle until today. I resisted in every way possible, and justified it.
The desire for perfection is paralyzing. Feeling like things aren’t perfect enough and will never be perfect enough -- is THE best excuse for not starting, for not doing, especially when you’re a creative, an artist, a writer, an enterpreneur, or a person chasing their biggest dream. It is also blinding, in that it keeps you from seeing the bigger picture.
Good news is, there IS a remedy for this. It’s is the imperfect action. Doing the deed. Doing something. The first imperfect action means scribbling blindly with madness, while knowing and accepting that it is going to be dirty, awful, crooked, un-polished, EVERYTHING you fear. On top of that, in doing the act, you are going to feel uncomfortable, horrified, exposed, unsatisfied, disappointed.
The beautiful thing about taking the imperfect action, is not only move to break paralysis, we pull also away from the details we’ve clung to -- the ones that really do not matter -- and can see the bigger picture of why the heck we wanted to complete the task in the first place. To get closer to living our dream, fulfilling our passion, being our best self. And we see that we are indeed capable of doing anything. We just have to start.
As I free-flow this blog post -- quick dirty, with few edits -- I make my first imperfect action to get me past a paralyzing block. Also, since it’s down to the wire, I will be posting this on my new website. My new raw, bare, imperfect, incomplete website is my next imperfect, but oh so beautiful, action. In the act of making the first move, we can start to feel the magic, the growth, fulfillment that comes from creating, from simply doing something. The dirt, imperfection, rough spots start to fade as we celebrate a new sense of freedom, a commitment kept, and one big step closer to where we know we can be.