The one thing that has always been a roadblock in executing or finishing my projects is my pursuit of perfection. I have tried to be perfect or achieve a certain level of perfection in any work I do.
The pursuit of perfection is not necessary but it does offer a level of control and a sense of satisfaction.
Then why do I and I am sure most of you who are reading this, chase perfection?
I have been thinking on this topic for a while now, and an unexpected conversation led me to dive deep into the reasons for this universal problem.
Trying to please the people who judge our work
Let me start by sharing my reason for why I chased perfection years ago.
I was an introvert and cared too much about what people thought of me. I was afraid that my work was not good and feared that people would judge me based on the work that I shared. Be it writing, designing, or any other project I undertook, the fear of being judged by people in my circle paralyzed my ability to be myself and do what I wanted to do, the way I wanted it to be done.
It was not until years later when I started meeting people that appreciated the honesty and the courage it required to follow my calling that I realized – It doesn’t matter what people think.
Initially, I started ignoring the people that didn’t like my work. However, it was a temporary solution. Ignoring your critics would help you to some extent, but it won’t solve your problem, and your fear would not fade away.
If you genuinely want to get rid of your fear of being judged and free yourself, you have to accept and even respect your critics.
Once you accept that your critics are your biggest fans, you can be free from your fear of being judged by them. They judge your work for numerous reasons, and one of them might be because your work is not good enough.
Yes, the truth might be bitter, but if you accept the criticism you receive and try to find if it is an honest one, you might end up improving your work. That’s what I did.
It doesn’t feel right to accept that your work might not be good but if you develop the courage to take the criticism and work on your weakness, you refine your work.
Perfection is not achieved in one attempt, it requires years of refinement, and for that, you need people to judge your work!
The illusion of complete control
Artists are control freak by nature. Whether you have just started out your artistic endeavors or you have achieved a level of mastery of your craft, you will feel the desperate need to be in control of your work!
I know it because I have been there and trust me, it is an illusion that you need to break it as soon as possible.
You cannot be in complete control of anything. Accept it, make it your mantra and pursue your calling anyways.
You don’t need to be in control to create your masterpiece. All you need is a complete dedication to your art.
Being in control is an illusion that lets you believe that you are more creative. However, it doesn’t help with the creativity part; instead, it becomes a primary reason and also a universal excuse for not completing your project.
If you want to do the most creative work of life, be wholly dedicated to your projects. Make sure you complete them and then do the most challenging thing any artist needs to do – abandon your projects once completed.
Every artist you admire has done this. They abandon their projects. Not because they had nothing more to contribute, but because they understood that control is an illusion and if they stick to the one project, they might end up having only that project as their contribution to the world of art.
It takes courage and deep respect for your craft to complete the projects that you are working on and then abandon them later. It is the only way to ensure that you can create more.
Abandoning your work is the best way to break the illusion of control. It is an opportunity for you to create more than one masterpiece in one lifetime!
It is OK to accept that you are not perfect
Even after dedicating years of work to your craft, you might end up with some projects that you don’t like. Its OK, you are not alone.
Every artist has their pile of projects that they don’t like. You are not perfect, you never will be, and that is completely fine.
Every project that you undertake will reflect on your journey. Being an artist, you will never be happy with the work that you did years back. The reason is simple, and every great artist knows this that their standard of what is good evolves with them. What might look good to you today will look amateur to you years later.
Think of it this way, if you have a drawing or a letter that you wrote when you were a child, hold it and tell me if it was the best drawing or writing that you ever did. You know it isn’t! Why? Because you evolved and became better. With your evolution, your craft grew and became better too.
Be at peace with yourself and accept that every project you have done till now and every project you will do in the future will be a milestone and a timeline of the evolution of you and your craft!
Don’t chase perfection. I did it for years, and it has stopped me from completing or even starting the projects that I desperately wanted to get out in the world. Do what you love and dedicate yourself entirely. Its OK if you don’t get it right the first time. Mastering a craft requires years of dedicated effort and a lot of patience. You will get to where you want to be, just don’t give up and never doubt that you don’t have it in you. You can achieve anything you want in life.