So in the Levo League office, we have a bright and bold poster emblazoned with the phrase: Done is better than perfect.
I totally understand it and I absolutely love it… in theory. But the problem is that I like done and perfect. I’m obsessed with it in fact. Another problem is that I don’t have an actual definition of what perfect even is for me. (I think “perfect” is something that’s different for everyone to begin with.) It’s not even how something ends up looking or performing, it’s more of how it feels to me. But I don’t feel the perfect… I just feel a lot of the not perfect.
It’s definitely something I work on (and frankly have to work on) all the time. Sometimes it’s worse than others, but ultimately it’s just moving towards not getting so bogged down by the not perfects.
One of the most difficult aspects that I have to get past is the notion that I actually get a lot of stuff done when I’m obsessing over the perfect. I don’t like to do things that I can’t do perfectly (whoops) and grow super frustrated with myself if I can’t get to a point I feel at least okay with.
One example was a problem set for a class I took at Georgetown. I was fixated on getting that problem set completed. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it, so I spent four hours rereading the textbook and just playing around the computer program. And then I spent another four hours actually working on the set. Eight hours in one sitting. On one hand, I figured it out and could (probably) replicate the skills learned even to this day. On the other hand, I got three points off (for a 97%) and was so disappointed that I had spent the time to actually learn it and still couldn’t get the 100%.
But I missed the whole point of spending time on working that hard. It wasn’t to get the perfect grade. It was to simply learn.
One of my big goals for the week is to reevaluate how I define success. Or rather define success in a different way. Personally, I often find myself relying on numbers and other quantitative, concrete pieces of evidence to determine my level of success. I have been trying to shift away from this. I know I’m going to do the best job I can do, I don’t need a number to tell me that.
I’m not sure that there is one way to measure whether or not I succeed at this or if there is even an end point. My guess is that it’s just a constant ebb and flow.
Have you/do you struggle with perfectionism? How have you overcome it, or do you have specific strategies to share?