Strive For Progress Not Perfection
It becomes hard to achieve anything in life and have success when you are a perfectionist and can’t tolerate anything that is not 100% flawless. Change your mindset so you can strive for progress, not perfection, and get stuff done!
When it comes to taking the first step to start something new and go after your goals, many can struggle with the idea of perfection. Your mind keeps telling you everything must be figured out first before taking the plunge.
The reality is most people that are successful kick off their projects with just enough knowledge to get the idea out of their heads and grow from there.
There is no journey that you will embark on where you know beforehand the whole path up to the finish line. You will have plenty of blank spaces to fill in.
For the perfectionist in you, it is essential to understand why it is so vital to your success to always strive for progress, not perfection.
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1. Perfectionism Delays Progress
Focus on progress, and you will get to your destination. Strive for perfection, and you will keep spinning your wheels with no concrete results to account for your hard work.
Chances are, you will lose momentum and allow distractions to get in the way. It becomes challenging to find the motivation to continue moving forward, as you are not making progress.
It’s astonishing the amount of energy you waste going over and over the same detail a hundred times until it looks perfect.
If you plan on spending this much energy on every step of a thousand-mile journey, you will run out of steam pretty quickly.
Something that should take a week turns into months and then years ending up wearing you down.
Plagued by frustration, you no longer feel the urgency to accomplish your goals, and you start procrastinating to get stuff done.
2. Take The First Step Towards Progress
Don’t wait until you are a subject-matter expert to implement an idea. Do your research, know the basics, and take the first step towards your new endeavor.
Learn along the way, invest in courses, and expect to face setbacks. Sometimes you will have to make small adjustments for what is not working for you. Be flexible and keep an open mind to your approach when solving problems.
Welcome the challenges as there is no growth nor progress in the comfort zone. Change is hard, but keep moving forward, and as you overcome the obstacles, you will start to see results.
If you have been resistant to change, I wrote an article that can help you embrace change and set yourself up for success.
Excitement will grow when you realize how far you have come, and motivation will keep you going strong. When you focus on progress and not perfection, it is easier to stay fully committed to your goal. You are unstoppable!
3. Perfection Is Rarely Achievable
Striving for perfection is the same as a dog chasing his tail. When do you know to stop? When enough is enough?
Even for the perfect plan, executed by a genius, you will find someone to critique their work or idea. Why? Because the world is ever-evolving, and nothing is static.
No matter the endeavor, there is always room for improvement.
Attaining perfection is not a realistic expectation. To get a project ironed out and flawless will consume a lot more time, and that might not be a viable option for many with limited resources.
And who is the one to tell when something is perfect so you can move on to the next step? You will be wasting your time trying to achieve the unachievable.
Always give your best shot. Get stuff done and aim for continuous refinement.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Everyone starts somewhere. Allow yourself to be a beginner as you learn and grow and get better at what you do.
The perfectionist is usually working on the same project with no deadline, which rarely gets implemented.
4. The Road To Perfection leads to Self-Criticism
Have you ever heard we are our worst critics? Yep, sometimes we can be mean like that.
Usually, when things don’t go according to plan, or you can’t reach the level of perfectionism you have set for yourself, that judgemental inner voice starts to point finger at you.
Did you really think you could do this? Look at this mess now? Whose fault is it? You are a failure!
A completely normal reaction, we all experience self-doubt to some degree, which gets exacerbated during challenging times. This only becomes a problem when you stay stuck on the self-criticism cycle, unable to move on.
You don’t need to perfect to be successful. Analyze the problem and seek solutions. Take action to solve the issue, and you will be back on track.
If self-doubt is still taking the best of you, this post will explain a few ways to put an end to it.
It’s unheard of a person that has never had to overcome obstacles to succeed in life. As you progress, get used to deal with setbacks. Look at them as a necessary evil to achieve your goals.
5. Small Progress Is Still Progress
Cultivate patience as Rome was not built in a day. Give time and believe in the process.
It takes several years for most people to reach some level of success. Things don’t happen overnight, even though it might look like that way for outsiders.
Be happy with your progress, and celebrate when you reach a milestone. It is better to take small steps daily that bring you closer to your goal than none at all.
By implementing ideas, you make progress. Aim to be at least one step ahead of where you were yesterday.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you will see progress. You don’t need to make a huge move to be on the right track.
6. Done Is Better Than Perfect
Don’t allow perfectionism to hold you back from getting what you want out of life.
Trying to be perfect is exhausting. You are constantly afraid of making mistakes, and that prevents you from getting anything done—your portfolio consists of brilliant ideas that never took off and a bunch of unfinished projects.
It must be so frustrating to know you are capable of achieving greatness but is unable to execute a plan to completion.
Time is the most valuable commodity nowadays. Make good use of it, getting stuff done!
Done is better than perfect! If any issue comes up, fix it.
This is precisely how Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, IBM, Pinterest, and Apple, just to name a few, work. People trust and rely on their products and services, even if they occasionally have a few glitches.
Keep this in mind next time you consider perfection, and stalling to get things done, over progress.
It's A Marathon, Not A Sprint!
There are no shortcuts, but you don’t need to be perfect. You need to be consistent.
Ask yourself how bad you want it. Are you willing to sacrifice and work hard for a few years, perhaps many years, so that you can live a better life in the future?
What you put in today is what you will get out of it later on. It’s that simple.
Perfection won’t help you achieve your goals. For that, you need to show up daily, put in the work, grow a thick skin, build new skills, and commit to self-education.
More than anything, be patient because it will take time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
Progress will be visible and measurable, and that will keep you motivated and committed to your objectives.
Have an unshakeable faith that everything will work out as you envision, plus a laser-sharp focus on the prize. And you will be on your way to accomplish anything your heart desires.
Choose progress, not perfection, and watch how far you can go enjoying a life of accomplishments and happiness.