This is something I keep coming back to again and again. I run into it in my own pursuits, my peers and the precious people who hit me up.
I’ve said it time and time again:
There is good. There is great. There is beautiful. Yes. But forget about perfect. It doesn’t exist. Striving for it will drain you and ultimately stall your progress.
It’s an illusion, a false mindset.
This is by no means my idea – or even a new idea. Voltaire, for example, said it in his poem “La Bégueule” (1770):
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
We see false perfection everywhere. We grow up believing it and, subconsciously, live our lives contributing to the problem.
We want to create perfect things. We want to look perfect. We want to wait for the perfect moment to do something. We look for perfect opportunities.
But life just doesn’t work like that.
Perfectionism turns us into control freaks and we stop moving forward. Our imagination becomes stale and we lose inspiration.
Becoming good at something is all about the journey and embracing what unexpected things it brings. Ben Settle, a very successful copywriter, has his own way of looking at it:
Money is attracted to speed.
How do we get rid of this false mindset then? Well, just as we grew into it, we must grow out. It takes time and conscious effort.
Rather than trying to create perfect music, focus on becoming better at the act of creating music.
- Focus on the big picture.
- Improve your workflow.
- Bring more meaning to things.
- Finish more of what you start.
- Utilise better the things you already possess.
- Learn to build momentum (this also means learning to let go).
- Don’t sit on your music. Just get it out there.
- Be good enough.
I will leave you with a further thought. What if you could redefine what perfect actually means to you? Of course you can!
Aristotle talks about the different definitions of perfect in “Delta”:
- Perfect = Which is complete — which contains all the requisite parts.
- Perfect = Which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better.
- Perfect = Which has attained its purpose.
I love the last one.
Which has attained its purpose! What a beautiful thought!
If attaining a purpose is your new perfect… Everything suddenly seems much more simple.