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I’ve struggled with perfectionism (on and off) throughout my life, and we have a lot of “perfectionists” here at LearnDoBecome–people who truly want to get organized, but they want to do it JUST RIGHT. And because they never feel like they’ve got a perfect handle on how to do everything at once, they never start. (Perhaps that’s you or someone you know?)
Today I want to offer a healthy perspective from the awesome book called “How to Be Miserable–40 Strategies You Already Use.”
Randy Paterson shares that “cheerful, unworried people tend to split their expectations in two”:
There’s “a minimum level of performance about which they would feel content,” and then there’s “an aspirational level, which they may not seriously expect to reach and to which they do not feel extremely attached.”
I’ll share a few examples:
- I’d love to have a perfectly organized, decorated office that could be featured in a design magazine, but it would be awesome to even just have all the pieces of a functional Command Central in place.
- I’d love to have the best marriage in the world where we are forever in a state of bliss and cooperatively living our full purposes every day, but I’m happy creating a marriage where we prioritize time together in a way that makes sense with our responsibilities, work imperfectly through the ups and downs, recognize that we’re both human, and have fun along the way.
- I’d love to create a charitable foundation that invests in entrepreneurs around the world and creates incredible prosperity in multiple countries, but I’m really happy with my goal to give generously each year from where I am and get into the habit of thinking broadly and globally–giving relief to others where I can.
If we want to be miserable (according to the book), we want to bring those two lines closer together–or, “if possible, combine them into a single, all-but-impossible high bar over which [we] will seldom be able to jump.”
That space/wiggle room is where contentedness lies….
Here are a few more points from the book that helped me:
- We often avoid the lower of the two lines because we assume only “lazy, unambitious slobs who never get anywhere in life” set the bar low.
- And when we will accept nothing but the perfect achievement, we’ll feel inadequate, regardless of how close we get to our ultimate desires.
- It’s a lie that perfectionists achieve more. In fact, if we are willing to accept progress over perfection, we’ll likely achieve as much or more than our perfection-centered counterparts.
- If we want to make things worse on ourselves, we should also imagine that everyone around us expects us to be perfect, as well. I didn’t know this kind of thinking actually had a name, but it’s called “Socially Prescribed Perfectionism,” and it is a great method to feeling miserable.
From a personal perspective, everything we’ve ever “succeeded” in began with small steps that didn’t look perfect:
- Our first “nursery” was a stroller in the bathroom of our college apartment.
- The first version of the STEP Command Central, which we have now taught to hundreds of thousands of people, was drawn with crayons and markers.
- And our members at LearnDoBecome share photos every day where they start building their systems with things like cereal boxes or delivery boxes.
We genuinely believe in you, and as we all identify these two levels of achievement in our own lives–and create a flexible, full-of-grace space between the perfect outcome and the basic, minimum viable product we would accept as “done,” we’re going to make more progress on the things that matter most, and we’ll have a lot more fun along the way!
We hope these ideas strengthen you! Please comment below and share this post, if these ideas are helpful to you! And let us know which other topics you’d like us to cover here at LearnDoBecome!
How to Be Miserable – 40 Strategies You Already Use (Amazon Affiliate Link)
ARISE Membership Do you want to work with Team LearnDoBecome on a monthly basis–to use your Command Central to create a life where you wake up excited and go to bed content? We’d love to have you join this vibrant community!
STEP (Steps to Everyday Productivity) This is our signature program here at LearnDoBecome–with step-by-step instructions for building your very own Command Central. If you’d like your mind to feel calm, clear, and organized, so your space naturally follows, this is the program for you!