Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fighting Perfection

My personality errs on the side of perfection through organization.  It is a way for me to get into control of my situation, how I try to find a small piece of ground on which to plant my feet.  If you take a walk inside my mind,  you will find everything compartmentalized and cross-referenced thoroughly.  Miscellaneous categories are forbidden - everything has a place, a purpose, and a plan.  It is the source of pleasure and pain.  Pleasure because I find joy in organizing things and making plans; it brings focus and serenity to me.  On the other hand, my need for perfection requires that I delineate, reinforce the barriers that provide my comfort - and this leads to my limitation.  Within my carefully drawn lines, there is a lack of spontaneity and flexibility.  

Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.  It hinders more than it helps.  For this reason, I believe it is important to understand our weaknesses because awareness can mitigate their negative effects.

So, as such, I frequently do exercises to ensure my mind stays open to possibilities.  They are insurance against me sabotaging myself with perfectionism.  Here are three that I use often:

1.  Plan not to plan
Yes, I have to tell myself NOT to plan things.  Hopefully, in that regard, you are luckier than I.  So, unlike my jam-packed college days, I leave open spaces in my schedule for whatever.  When that free time comes, only then do I decide what to do (although I may have a few options at the ready if I draw a blank).  This allows me to have a few moments of unexpected fun or intense focus during the week, depending on whatever I need at the time.

2.  Do "nothing"
In reading Everything That Remains by The Minimalists, the authors mention 'doing nothing' for a few minutes everyday.  In practice, doing nothing looks different to each person; it is an action performed with no end goal or purpose in mind.  For some, it consists of meditation or mindlessly flipping through a book or magazine.  For me, it consists of sitting down in a comfy chair and letting my mind wander for 5 to 10 minutes.  Serendipitously, many answers to problems have arrived during these times.

3.  Play devil's advocate
When I tend to lean heavily toward a certain side of an argument, I try to solidify my position my attacking it, as if I was on the other side.  This helps me to empathize with others more readily, acknowledge various points-of-view, and encourage dialogue instead of dictation.  As we are able to empathize more, the better our decisions become.

Do you battle with perfectionism?  How are some ways that you deal with your own weaknesses?  I'd love to hear them!

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I am so grateful you took the time to read my thoughts! I would love to get the chance to read yours, so go ahead and leave a comment!