Perfection by only focusing on Progress?
Let’s find out. First, let me explain what I mean with these terms. I personally switch between these two during my music process.
For me this is about an attitude you have around your music or other creative practice. Wanting everything to be perfect often result in frustration and struggle. With this approach, we constantly are trying to get somewhere else. Can perfection ever be met? Isn’t there always room for improvement? “Does it even exist?”, is a question we can ask ourselves… You can look at perfection differently though, more on that in a minute.
Best of the best
What we often are trying to reach is the best of the best, which the road towards can be very unpleasant. And it can even not be what you expect it to be. Armin van Buuren: “I suffered a lot from it (constant pressure/pleasing every fan). In 2010, I was the number 1 in the world, but the most unhappy person on earth.” ) (Full article).
Wanting the best for yourself is not a bad thing, or even wanting to be the best of all time, but it is also about the process which can be a lot more enjoyable. When we learn that where we are now is good as it is, we change our attitude towards the process. Which leads to my next point.
When progress is your aiming-point, there is no such thing as failure. At least, not if you are taking action to learn more and become better. Joy and growth is the result of this approach. Worst case scenario: you are having fun. I want to be as often in this space as possible, but sometimes I get distracted and believe everything has to be different to make the progress to be where I want to be.
This approach is about where you are in the present, enjoying the process of learning. Also having trust and working towards where you want to be.
So, perfection is very future based, how it is now is not good enough. It is also the bar you set for yourself and what you value over what. It can be a very strong motivation though (motivated action), and it will get you places, but it can also stall your process easily and can take the fun out.
Why Perfection mentality?
Sometimes status can be important for wanting everything to be perfect. Maybe wanting to avoid criticism or wanting to be somewhere you are not (or not yet). Comparison with others, “have to be the best” only that is good enough. These are not bad or anything, but just not useful for making the process fun and enjoyable. Or even to go where you want to be now and on the long term.
When you truly are OK with what you do now and enjoy the learning process (inspired action), that is exactly where you want to be ( to take a guess 🙂 ). Then, you work from inspiration, instead of motivation. Being relaxed during the process is almost always the case, which results in flowing creativity. You enjoy your practice a lot; reach way further, also because your stamina is higher and you develop your skills a lot quicker. Overall happiness: high. See my post on happiness and creativity to read more about how to keep being creative even when happiness isn’t that high.
Other way to look at Perfection
I said in the beginning I would write about another way of looking at perfection, here it is. There is a difference between wanting perfection and believing you can achieve it. Let’s not take the word perfection for this case, let’s take: where you want to be. Really want to be, unrealisticly (for the mind). Wanting to be there results in chasing and achieving, trying to be somewhere else. Everything we want is in the future.
Your future already here
On the other hand, believing you can achieve your goal, or better, your dream, results in you embodying that future already here. Which makes the process fun and exciting, cause now only time is what is between you now and you where you want to be. It is happening. I personally, as i said in the beginning, switch between these two approaches from time to time. And I think that is natural, cause almost nothing in life goes in a straight line, but my intention is always to be in the second scenario. You probably can understand why 😉
So, Perfection through Progress mentality?
Perfection is often what we want, but where you want to be, really want to be, is often way better then what you had in mind with perfection. Even if that’s not the case and you have a perfect dream in your mind, it is about believing and not wanting, as I said before. When you truly believe that you are capable of being where you want to be, you experience it right here in this moment. So in that case, yes, I think it is possible to reach perfection by only focusing on making progress, the way I described perfection to be. And I personally think “that perfection” transcends (to use a cool word) the perfection we tried to achieve before.
Last but not least, if you train yourself to be happy now in the process, it will be easier to be so in the future. Your life starts now. Or do we have a second life that has not began yet? Read my blog about this to understand that it has already began for you.
To get you going (in short)
More on action and belief and how that works in the brain. Believing in your future self, making the connections in your brain with that positive outcome, over and over again. Choices, actions and intention, to make and let it happen. For more on this check this article about Neuroplasticity. In short it means: your brain is constantly creating new cells and connections, pathways, and what we do and choose, creates or strengthen these pathways in the brain. Very interesting if you ask me.
A very important part to put this into practice is installing a habit. Small (maybe better: tiny) daily actions that become natural to do and over time grow out to be something big. I think I will write something about that in more detail in a future blogpost.
Really enjoyed writing this one, I hope it is in some way helpful or useful for you!
And I hope you enjoyed it too, I really appreciate you read till the end :). Leave an emoji of your choice and comment if you believe in your (new) perfection by only focusing on progress.
See you next week!