Practice NOT Perfect

20 Jan

Anything worth doing is worth doing right – Hunter S. Thompson

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you learn to do it well – Steve Brown

Hello everyone, my name is Karen and I am a recovering perfectionist. For the better part of my life I would have absolutely agreed with the first quote by Hunter Thompson. Ironically, Hunter Thompson was a writer who committed suicide after a tumultuous life and a long battle with multiple illnesses. As I grow, hopefully with grace, into the second half of my life, I am much more inclined to live by the second quote from Steve Brown, a jazz musician and educator. He’s still around, making music and living his life.
Having to do something right stifles creativity and new ideas. It also creates procrastination, as my mentor, Marla Cilley, says. Sounds crazy, I know, but think about this. We put things off because we don’t have time to do the whole job, or to do it the way we really want to, or give it the time it deserves. We keep putting it off and putting it off and as we do, the bigger the job seems and the more energy it sucks out of us as we look at it and wish it was finished. We make ourselves angry and sick because we create this idea of how something “should” be done. Stop shoulding on yourself. You don’t need to be perfect at anything except being you. All you ever need to do is your best, and your best is enough no matter what anyone else says. So what if it takes you a week or a month to do a project 15 minutes at a time, that you could have done in 4 straight hours or 2 long days? The job still gets done, and you don’t get worn out in the process. Trust me, there’s magic in 15 minutes of focus. Don’t believe me? Pick a project and spend 15 minutes per day working on that project with focus and determination and walk away when the timer runs out. If the project involves getting rid of or creating something, take pictures every day so you can see your progress. I promise you that within a week you will make a difference, and you’ll still have energy to do other things.
Think about this. Being a doctor is one of the most demanding professions in the world. It takes years of schooling and on the job training. A mistake could cost someone’s life, and yet they call it the practice of medicine, not the perfection of medicine. Yoga is a type of exercise that makes great demands on your mind, body and spirit. I mean, have you ever seen some of the more difficult poses? I often wonder if I’ll ever be able to twist my body like that AND look serene doing it. Yoga is also called a practice. Hmmmm. Maybe we should all give up the idea of doing things right and living the right way and being the right person. Perhaps it would be better to just do our best always, get better and practice living well. Have great day!

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