Being Imperfect on Purpose

I’m a perfectionist

Woah woah, hold up. That is a terrible mindset.

If you’ve had the thought more than once, you’re not alone. I have considered myself a perfectionist for some time. But it is a terrible idea. Though it may be true to a degree, repeating such an idea as a mantra is coding your brain to become MORE perfectionistic. Which again, it’s a terrible idea! And if you think such an idea helps you to become better, please keep reading why it is detrimental to the human experience.

Fundamentally, humans are imperfect. The idea of “perfection” is… well, flawed; imperfect. So holding one’s self to an unattainable standard only leads to stress; and then depression. Really, it leads to a greater degree of “imperfection.” If you think it is a justifiable aspiration that helps you become better, think again.

Perfectionists lose. Perfectionists obsess over details that no one else gives a shit about. They lose time. Perfectionists lose out on development because they do not move on to the next project. Perfectionists cannot finish projects and end up giving up because they cannot make the final product perfect. So they procrastinate completion—even though they do a fucking good job on a section.

Identifying with perfectionism—or being “OCD”—doesn’t help you. The reason people become perfectionists or OCD, is they recognize the tendency and repeat the fact in thought and speech. Stop! The more you believe it the more you become.

Why shouldn’t I set high standards for myself?

Because it is redundant. It is redundant in a non-effective way.

Successful people do not focus on making something perfect. They focus on making something good enough, putting it out into the world, and letting the product or idea evolve with feedback.

A perfectionist does not understand the value of leveraging feedback. A perfectionist feeds themselves with the egotistical idea “I can’t release something flawed.” Or, “I can’t release something into the world that will have negative feedback.”

That idea inhibits the expansion of a person’s skill, value, and development. Forget about being right or being flawless. Focus on leveraging feedback. Do not seek to be praised, but seek to be criticized. Because the act of seeking criticism allows one to harness the power of multiple brains to process the validity or meaning of a product, service, idea, or other.

If you think you are a “perfectionist,” reframe the idea that you are a person with perfectionistic tendencies. Tendencies that inhibit you from experiencing maximized evolution.

Unlearn perfectionistic tendencies by identifying when you are being perfectionistic, and stop. Whatever it is you are perfecting, stop. Put it out into the world. Move on. And return to the idea if it is still important or meaningful. And then hone it with the feedback received, fast. Then release it again.

This is very important if you have perfectionistic tendencies, and you want to thrive without being dependent on a boss.

You are not a perfectionist

You are a person with perfectionistic tendencies, and the best way to become a better you is to get things done fast, and iterating over time while being open to feedback.
This is my fourth draft. I published it when it was my first draft. And it will probably be updated a few times after I receive feedback.

Side note:
Great book title: Messy on Purpose: Curing Perfectionism to be More Perfect—you can steal this title when you realize practicing imperfection is freedom with the reward of success. Just give me a little credit. 😉

Feedback welcomed. Questions encouraged!


Props to David for his bad sad cake
  • Moriya Reed

    we have got to get you into a TED talk….

    • Ben Prindle

      Moriya, *blush*

  • Pingback: Function > Design | Ben Prindle()