Why You Shouldn't Pursue Perfection

A couple weekends ago my band and I performed a show at The Elbo Room in Chicago.

                 photo credit: Rena Naltsas @renacaptures

               photo credit: Rena Naltsas @renacaptures

Recently I shared a concept called The Law of Diminishing Significance (LDS for short),

which states that the more times you do something, the less significant each occurrence becomes, going from insanely stressful to almost instinctive.

This was our 4th time playing together as a band. Check it out:

Everyone who came to the show had a great time and said we played an awesome set. While we totally brought the house down, here’s what you don’t see happening in that video:

  • The venue ran late with everything, so our set time was cut almost in half, and we played half the songs we originally intended.
  • The audio levels weren’t great on stage, which made it tough for me to hear the music during some songs, and therefore it was difficult to keep on beat.
  • One of our songs (not in this video) I actually forgot the lyrics of the second verse momentarily, so I spit the 3rd verse second, and the 2nd verse third.

Despite all that, we still played a hell of a show and audience members who have been to previous shows said this was our best one yet.

We had a bunch of things go wrong, but we still rolled with the punches. If all of that happened during our first show, I might have freaked out. But because we’re at the point of being in a flow state, according to the LDS, unexpected events don’t phase us.

 

You learn to become okay with not having control over every particular detail because you’ve developed enough confidence in your own ability to MAKE SHIT HAPPEN.

 

That doesn’t happen without getting past the first phase of LDS, though. Whatever your endeavor is—whether that’s starting a side project, making a career change, pursuing a creative passion—you’ll never become good at it, comfortable with it, and a natural in it without acknowledging that getting started is the hardest part, but that it gets incrementally easier from there.

 

Why is getting started so damn hard?

 

There was a time not too long ago (I'm talking only a year ago) where I was TOO SCARED to perform because I felt like things weren't "ready" yet. I thought everything had to be perfect.

What have I learned? 4 P's:

 

PURSUING PERFECTION PREVENTS PROGRESS

 

You'll always hold back in the name of perfection.

Here's what you need to do instead:

  1. Acknowledge that the first time you do something/put something out there, it will probably be your worst go at it. It's a fact. You have no real practice at it, so of course it's going to suck (relative to your future efforts). 
  2. When you embrace a "hey, this is gonna suck anyway" attitude, you take the pressure off yourself, and simultaneously bring down the fear. (It's important to note that this doesn't mean you stop caring about it or putting effort into it. Instead, it means you protect your own ego by knowing you can only go up.)
  3. When you get past the Fear of Getting Started Hump, you now have something to your name, and a standard for comparison.
  4. You make steady improvements. You get comfortable. You become a natural.
  5. Now you focus on optimizing, exploring new angles, and becoming the best.

 

Don't hold back. Get started.

 

In the comments section below, let me know how the idea of getting started makes you feel. Does it freak you out? Motivate you? What's on your mind?

 

Take care and be awesome today,

 

Rajiv