Top 3 Ways Perfectionism Paralyzes Your Passion
It is easy to get into nitpicking ourselves and others. We seek out imperfections and in everything we turn our gaze on. We become the all seeing eye. Flaws and mistakes become highlighted in our work, our creativity, our whole lives! What we choose to focus on grows so of course we are bombarded with many areas to fix. We turn into a 24/7 judgment factory. Our mind tells us it is necessary to get better and to help others get better. What started as an innocent intention to grow and improve is now out of control.
Eventually, we find ourselves finding faults in the smallest of actions. We constantly see areas that need improvement. Relaxation eludes us because our mind is on a mission to fix what needs fixing in all of existence. We might even lose sleep over it. It is easy to miss what is actually happening by justifying it as a good thing.
The result? We are too busy finding fault in life, we delay taking action. We wait to live fully in the moment, for fear of doing it wrong. Do we really want to be on our deathbed with regret of all the opportunities we blew because we couldn’t just let it be?
2. Judging Existing Skills
Have you ever known an individual that is perpetually in school? They could have 10 careers with all the knowledge they have, but they never quite make it that far. Often times, we know what we really want to do with our lives, but we feel like we need more. We convince ourselves that if we take that year-long advanced course, we will finally be ready. We have in our minds that we just don’t have the skills it takes to get started. We couldn’t possibly start where we are and move forward. This would be much too risky.
We might fall on our face. We might appear incompetent and ruin our reputation. We might teach someone the wrong formula. This list can go on and on. Our list of judgments has become much larger than our reason to live our passion starting now. Again, what we focus on grows and our mind will continue to come up with reasons not to.
The truth is, no successful person has gotten there without falling. I’m going to use a memory from my childhood as an example. I think about when we were training in gymnastics. We knew we were going to fall off the beam in practice. That was a given. It was an inevitable part of getting better. We just focused more on the routine than the idea of how bad it would hurt when we fell. Then, when we did fall, our coach would tell us to get back up there and do it again. It hurt sometimes…well most of the time, but that was not our focus.
I still remember the feeling of winning State Championships and that was 33 years ago! Trust me, it is worth it to fall on your face. If nothing else, you will have an amazing memory etched in your brain forever because you will get back up and win.
3. Lack Mindset
When we are acting from a mindset of lack, we usually feel like there is not enough. We often do not reach out to others because inside we feel like we do not have enough to give. When we are worried about paying our bills, we are not very likely to give the homeless money. When we are worried about feeding our children, we are not going to invite neighbors over for a dinner party. When we feel isolated, lonely, anxious, or depressed, often times we will not reach out to help someone else. We feel like we have enough problems, how could we possibly help them. Where would we find the energy and why would we want to?
The ironic part is by thinking this way, we are perpetuating our current situation by believing that there just isn’t enough for us.
I once had a spiritual teacher that would go out have buy things when he felt like money was getting tight. The organization was seemingly in financial trouble and a lot of the members were worried. He decided to go shopping. He went out and bought a very nice suit for himself. Then, he bought another to give away. He bought multiples of everything he purchased on his shopping spree so he had some to give away. There was a point being made to all. If we feel and act from a place of giving, we will always have enough.
He refused to focus on the idea of lack in any area. As a result, he was never in need of anything. It was truly inspiring.
Another time in my life, I heard about the concept of tithing a percentage of my income to a charity. It did not matter how much I made, but 15% was to be taken off of the top. Each payday, I would choose a different charity to give to. I was barely making enough to cover basic bills with rarely any left for miscellaneous expenses. I tithed anyway. Then, I began noticing that when a surprising expense would pop up, I would receive the exact amount to cover it. Suddenly, I was paying my bills and had money left over to treat myself. It was a bit mind blowing for me at the time, but it continued. My mindset of lack was very quickly changing to a mindset of abundance. Then, I started looking for more proof of abundance and it created an upward spiral of belief.
When we are not convincing ourselves of how much lack there is, we have a lot more space to live our passion. It can come out in ways we may not have anticipated. That is when life truly becomes adventurous and full. Without the limitations of our mind, our creativity is able to flow freely exactly as it is meant to.