What left me thinking for days
I have recently attended a workshop in London with a well-known, American creativity book author. The workshop was made of a large number of small exercises throughout the two days. In fact, I have never been in a workshop where there were more exercises done in two days than here! It was rather impressive. Many of these short, innocent exercises left me thinking for days after the event, but there is one in particular, which I would like to share with you.
Creativity and perfectionism – what is the link?
You might wonder what the connection is between creativity and perfectionism. I’m rushing to explain that the link is not only direct but also quite significant from the impact perspective. Many artists, who create anything from book writing to paintings, struggle with a fear of rejection and from perfectionism. Each perfectionist, myself included, knows that, in most cases, perfectionist’s wish to make our productions perfect serves as nothing more than a block. A block, which kills creativity at the spot by not allowing you to ever make the first step. Artists fear imperfection and sometimes never attempt even commencing the work as a result. Most often, they postpone the commencement of completion of their work, which we all refer to as procrastination. It is something that we hate and still do it. It is the case because the root cause lies in our unconscious, keeping us unaware of what is actually happening in our nervous systems.
Invisible blocks – out of the way!
Those invisible blocks happen all too often and keep a lot of beautiful creations away from the world. I need to admit that these feelings are familiar to me too. But looking at it from a positive perspective, I would like to share that, knowing the pain all too well, I commenced a search for tools and techniques, which help in getting perfectionism out of one’s way so we can rock again!
If it didn’t have to be perfect, I could…
The task in the workshop was straightforward: finish the following sentence ten times: If it didn’t have to be perfect, I could… I started writing, and I soon had a huge realisation. In fact, I captured the essence of it in my first sentence: ‘If it didn’t have to be perfect, I could do anything I want!’ That was precisely right: my wish for perfection was blocking the majority of my actions from writing a book to learning a new language. In every area, where I wasn’t achieving what I strived for, I detected the presence of perfection. My realisation was, therefore, that perfection was governing my entire life. No wonder why I couldn’t produce all the things I want and dream of!
Grateful for the new awareness
I didn’t really expect this workshop to offer any techniques for perfectionists, but I was most grateful that it did. I was initially in a bit of a shock but the feeling later transferred into gratefulness for the new awareness. Plus, it is quite a good situation to be in when you know that once one issue is resolved, you can move on with so many things! It was great! Since then, I ask myself this question all the time: ‘If it didn’t have to be perfect, I could/would…’. Then I finish the sentence and do exactly that.
The taste of freedom
This learning was nothing short of a breakthrough! In the last week I delivered more of my personal milestones that in the last month. Writing my blog is one of them. The moment, in which I released myself from the perfectionism contract, I started living my life on my terms even more than before. I now produce every day, and it gives me more and more courage and encouragement for the day ahead. It kicks my fears at the backside, and they are never seen again.
The new approach
Am I afraid of making a mistake? Partially yes but not to the extent that it was the case before. For blogging or book writing, for example, I know that there are tools, which I can deploy to have my work proofread and commented on. If anything needs correction, I can do so and release my work straight away to the world. But if I have nothing to proofread then I also have nothing to improve! By not writing I would never make a mistake but I would never learn either. We need to be able to make the first step first, and then the next step, and the next. No matter how small they are. What matters is that we’re moving forward.
The next right move
Oprah captures this philosophy very well by saying: “The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself: what is the next right move. And from that space make the next right move and the next right move. And not to be overwhelmed by this because your life is bigger than this one moment”.
When you struggle next time with an inability to commence a task just ask yourself: ‘If it didn’t have to be perfect, I could/would…’ and finish the sentence with your own words. And then just do it. You will find that by just answering this question you feel much lighter and able to imagine yourself doing the thing that you want to do. And this is the first significant step. Because once you can see yourself doing it, then nothing is blocking you from literally doing it. And that is how you regain the freedom to do whatever your heart desires.
You tube: There are no Failures, there are no wrong paths – Oprah Winfrey [Online. Accessed 16th May 2018]