In my last post, I started talking about why we have so much difficulty really going for the goals that inspire us. I think that there are four key levels to this that take us deeper and deeper into our core issues. I’ll cover the first two of these in this post: the closely related issues of procrastination and perfectionism. Once we recognize these patterns and free ourselves from these tendencies, we open ourselves to a whole new level of unconditional well-being and fulfillment in our lives. Once we let these go, following our dreams with passion and enthusiasm will naturally flow from the source of inspiration and well-being within us. And the first step is recognizing how these tendencies affect us in our own lives.
Level I: Procrastination
Outwardly, we find ourselves procrastinating and getting distracted by the little mundane tasks that we need to do each day and by the tempting ease of surfing the Internet or watching TV. Sinking into blessed oblivion, as they say. You’ll know when you’re using these activities as an excuse and distraction from what you really want to do because there will be a vague sense of dis-ease about doing it. And when you’re done, the anxiety will come back. But if the goal is something we really want, why are we procrastinating about it in the first place?
Level II: Perfectionism
I think that the reason we procrastinate is that we are putting an intense amount of pressure on ourselves to be absolutely perfect from the very beginning. I actually think the idea of “perfection” is a risky one to play around with. The problem is this: how do you objectively define perfection? I think we have assumed that at some point we’ll look at what we have created and say, “Ah yes, I see that this is absolutely perfect and it is ready to share with the world.” Now, I’m sure that that does happen sometimes. But if we are procrastinating because we are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves about what we need to come of it: approval, appreciation, love, etc., there’s a lot more at stake at finishing whatever we’re doing. So, from my perspective, not finishing and perfectionism are just different forms of procrastination that let us avoid our fear of putting ourselves and our creations out into the world.
If we keep working and working on something until we get to that is elusive destination called “perfection,” we may never get there.
In my next post, I’ll talk about two different motivations that drive us toward excellence and how one of them is helping you and one is holding you back. I’ll also go deeper into the issues that hold us back from following our dreams. Beneath the procrastination and perfectionism, there is a fear of failure and a deep need for the love and approval of others. And awareness of this is the first step in changing things for the better. We’ll talk about all this next time… see you then.
Learn about my self-help program here: Your Inspiring Life