PERFECTION IS POISON
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
I don’t know what causes it—the rise of unlimited options via the Internet, the endless stream of potentials on Bumble, the curated fairytale social media streams—but the need for perfection in life (our careers, relationships, etc.) continues to rise and is something I think about a lot. The need paralyzes so many. For me, I’ve never been interested in “perfect” because by nature, I’m messy, unorganized and all over the place. From the minute I get out of bed, I focus my energy on doing, rather than thinking. And so, sometimes this manifests into spelling errors in blog posts and captions or never counting a calorie, instead eyeballing my food, or PRYMAL being a far from perfect gym (though clients still somehow get amazing results). My mindset has always been “GSD.” Get shit done. And yet so many think the opposite, waiting for the perfect time, the perfect job, and the perfect person, instead ending up with zero.
When I went to Disney World many years ago (one of my favorite places still to this day), I remember waiting in line for the Tower of Terror, which seemed like an eternity in the 110 degree Florida heat. Anytime you are stuck in line, you begin to notice things to keep yourself entertained. At one point, I watched the staff members walk in and out of a backdoor. Sometimes the door would open up wide enough to peak in, and through the hallway you could see the staff in plain street clothes, boxes littered about, and props piled up on top of each other. It was much dirtier and much more cluttered than the manicured “set” the customers were walking though. We experienced perfection—strategically placed props, dry cleaned uniforms, functioning animatronics—exactly the way Disney wanted us to. But it’s a startling contrast from what’s going on behind closed doors.
And when I actually thought about it, I realized that is the case for 99% of life. We’re only shown the highlight reel, the finished project, and never the dirty hallway and broken pieces. So it makes sense why we believe perfection is the only way; it’s all we’ve been shown. You don’t see Beyoncé’s dress rehearsals; you see her completely crushing it in front of 50,000 screaming fans. You don’t see the mundane workouts I barely make it through after a full day of clients; you see the ones I light up in because the camera is on and I know people will be watching.
Perfection is poison. I see it everywhere. With travel, very often people will try to plan the perfect day to leave, when all of their affairs are in order and when they aren’t so busy, but that day never comes. With potential clients, the excuse of being busy or waiting until one can afford it is common, as they continue to decline and get worse, compounding bad habits, and piling on more weight.
Seeking perfection is a way to avoid the work and be off the hook. If you never make the decision, you can always point to it as to why you weren’t successful. But when you decide to execute, dropping the delusional, the clock starts. It becomes a game of sink or swim so you better paddle fast.
I believe all of this all ties into knowing yourself. When you know what you want, or rather what you actually want, you can make decisions and be 100% comfortable with them. If you’re merely conforming to a vague set of society’s expectations, it’s very difficult to make any decisions. There is a balance between settling versus knowing when things are good enough. The “make everything better” mentality reminds me of running on a hamster wheel until complete exhaustion. Not fun.
The problem lies in the inability to enjoy the journey and the present moment, which is all that we will ever have. Living a life of “never good enough” focuses solely on the destination, while ignoring the present beauty of the struggle. Yes, it is good to acknowledge that it can always be a little better because that’s where drive and ambition stem from, but the point is to enjoy every step of the way.
It’s never what you get in life; it’s who you become in the process.