When I left the gym this morning, there was this glowing orb in the sky that hurt my eyes. I thought we were being attacked by aliens until I realized it was the sun — forgot what it looked like.
See what I did there? How I casually slipped in the fact that I went to the gym this morning? Cue the band and the parades!
Being at the gym made me think about perfection. I think that so many of us are perfectionists, and it gets in our way. And also, the first song on my gym playlist is Fucking Perfect by Pink (or P!nk). Whatever. But we are perfectionists. We must eat perfectly or we beat ourselves up. Go to the gym every day. Do our workout perfectly. Never yell at our kids. Be the best at our jobs. The list of things we feel we must be perfect at is never ending.
A former boss/mentor and friend of mine once told me about a quote from Voltaire — “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. That quote really hit me. I was all about being perfect. In my job and everything else. Where I felt that I achieved perfection, I remained unhappy because the recognition for perfection was never what I’d hoped. And when I knew I hadn’t achieved perfection I beat myself up. Therefore still unhappy.
Perfection gets in our way. A lot of times, it stops us from starting. And when we do start, perfection stops us from finishing. I think if we could learn to strive for good, we would get so much more done, and be so much happier.
My workout today was far from perfect. I decided to do the Couch to 5K program. The first week, basically you do intervals of 1 minute running/90 seconds walking for 8 intervals. I was not running very quickly — in fact, my running is what many would call a fast walk. And after the second interval, my ass was kicked. Then my trainer came over to talk to me about setting up our sessions again, and I talked to her for a bit while I continued to walk. That meant I missed the next 5 running intervals. So I did the last one and did a cool down. It wasn’t a perfect workout. I didn’t run fast, and I didn’t run the 8 minutes. It was a good workout. I felt as though I’d worked hard and it lifted my mood for the rest of the day. I did good, and I’m happy.
I’m practicing “good” now. Sometimes you actively have to try not to be perfect. Right now, I’m practicing not being perfect while I leave the dinner dishes in the kitchen to write this blog. I’ll do the dishes, but I don’t have to do them now. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
A friend of mine posted the quote below on Facebook today, and I thought it was pretty relevant to the discussion of perfection. Plus, apparently Hugh Laurie said it, and I love Hugh Laurie.
It’s the same thing. Waiting until we’re ready usually means waiting until the conditions are perfect. And there are usually so many conditions that perfection is not attainable. There is no perfect, no ready. Just now. It’s a pretty well known psychological fact that people generally regret more the things they didn’t do, rather than the things they did. So might as well do it. Ready or not.