Do you check your work a thousand times before you
let others see it?
Do you find yourself delaying your plans and
projects because they’re not yet exactly as you
Are you trying to be perfect?
The noise of the morning show is in the
background. They are discussing women’s shoes.
“They’re perfect”, she says, “There’s nothing like
it”. It gets me thinking about perfection. And
my belief that there really is nothing like it.
When we strive for perfection, we fail, but only
100% of the time!
It feels like it was a hundred years ago. About 3
o’clock in the morning and I was sitting at my
desk in my draughty apartment near the university.
The window frames and door in my room were so old
that no matter what I did I could not get warm in
the winter nor stay cool in the summer. I was
sitting at my desk wearing 3 sweaters, a woolly
hat, scarf and finger-less gloves.
My books were spread out in front of me and around
my chair on the floor.
It may be a familiar scene. You remember those
‘all-nighters’ having to get the paper finished by
10am the next morning. Weeks of work crammed into
one caffeine filled night!
But I was stuck.
It wasn’t that I had not written a paper. It was
that it was not good enough.
I was a reasonably good student. I took my work
seriously but not too seriously that I would miss
a chance to go out with friends!
When it came to deadlines, I always met them.
Sleep was less important, if something needed to
be submitted, I would work all night if necessary
and get it finished.
This time was different. I had done the work, I
had researched the topic, I had written the paper.
It was a creative piece in my English Literature
studies and it simply was not good enough.
By 4am I was really desperate, not only was the
work ‘not good enough’ but I had no idea what to
do to make it better and I was running out of
I stood up to stretch considering yet another cup
of coffee, trying to figure out what more I could
do on the paper; but ended up lying on the couch
for just a moment. Of course, I fell asleep and
woke up at 9.15am.
You know the rest of the story. I handed in the
paper as was, I had no choice and I feared the
worst. Of course, I got a completely reasonable
grade and passed the course with flying colors!
Years later, I understood that my striving for
perfection was only hurting me. Trying to be
perfect is incredibly debilitating. When we
self-judge negatively we end up producing nothing.
That’s not to say that we should not have
standards and high expectations. I believe that
we should all do our best work and as often as
But perfection is a dangerous goal. It can never
be reached and only leaves us feeling frustrated,
unproductive and empty.
Next time you feel like your creative work is just
not good enough. Stop. Take a walk, maybe even
fall asleep. But once you’ve taken some distance,
wake up to the knowledge that it is more than good
enough. It is wonderful.
It is exactly what you needed to create in that
moment. You are everything you need to be.
No one else can tell your story better than you.
You are the expert in your own life and will
always be. Wake up and shine!
If striving for perfection has been your path, I’d
love to hear how you handle it. Please leave a
And a very warm welcome to all the new subscribers
Best wishes and best stories