Tag Archives: perfectionism

Good Enough Defeats Perfection

There is much I did not do last year. I did not write a book, lose weight, market my business, do 10 push-ups, grow all my own greens, or fix the intersection of Fullerton and Rockwell.

But I did haphazardly replace a button, send impersonal holiday cards, bring Dunkin Donuts to play group, do 5 push-ups, and grow enough kale to keep me pooping this fall. And I fixed a toilet (unrelated).

Mission accomplished! Over and over, I kept my promise to not let perfect be the enemy of the good. By expecting—and accepting—less, I am getting more done.*

Can you spot at least three egregious mending errors?
Can you spot at least three egregious mending errors? Answer below.
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Since I always forget what I plant where, I took pics  of bulb packages as markers. Alas, the 11/10 batch was out of focus. Mini Dutch Irises?

During the last quarter of 2014, I used my affinity for alliteration and aphorisms to test out other tips for managing daily life.

  • Make the Bed Monday.
  • A Place for All Some Things Tuesday.
  • Write it Wednesday.
  • Think Like a Waiter Thursday.
  • Don’t Freak Out Friday.
  • Sow Spring Bulbs before the Soil is Frozen Solid under Snow Saturday (forget what I said Friday!)

Few were particularly original, and many were different ways of saying the same thing. But for some reason they are guiding me past entrenched roadblocks, ranging from managing junk mail to managing myself.

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Downstairs sewing kit in old (surprisingly large) glasses case. Second kitchen drawer, across from stove.

Don’t Let Perfect be the Enemy of the Good was the most powerful, which is why I have not redone button number three.** It is out of line, off kilter, and attached with the wrong color thread. Ack! Twitch!  But at least I fixed it right away instead of throwing it into the “to mend” black hole, where the button probably would have gotten lost anyway. (Think it, Do it!) I was able to fix it right away because of the mini sewing kit in our kitchen drawer. (A Place for All Things, and All Things in their Place!) The sewing kit was there because I am keeping tools where I need them, even when that means having multiples spread around the house. (I Don’t Have a Catch Phrase for This!)

Stay tuned for more case studies about which mantras helped the most and/or generated interesting conversations with friends via the book of face.

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*Over the years, I have learned I am not a colossal screw up as much as I am a short perfectionist whose crappy executive functioning skills and irrational fears of failure have cultivated counterproductive behaviors such as procrastination, impulsivity, and intellectual paralysis. Bi-polar Disorder is in there somewhere. Chicken/egg—doesn’t matter. I know many others share this profile, which is why I post about this stuff even though the world already has plenty of words about how to get one’s act together.

**In truth, I did not even need to replace the button. It is decorative, on a sleeve. Few would have noticed it missing. Most who did would not have cared. But, I am not ready for that level of “imperfection.” (Should there be a comma between did and would? But and I?)

Happy New (Solstice) Year!

Happy New Year!

Wow. According to archaeoastronomy.com , the 2013’s winter solstice occurs in the central US region at 11:11am. The “make a wish” time of day. I have no idea if the site is reputable, but in keeping with one of my few New Year’s resolutions, I am not going to spend the next hour digging around for other resources. OK, maybe I’ll look for just one. . .

A quick trip to good ole Wikipedia (have you donated a few bucks lately?) captures my resonance with our ancestors.

  • The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months.
  • Starvation was common during the first months of the winter, January to April (northern hemisphere) or July to October (southern hemisphere), also known as “the famine months”.
  • In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began.
  • Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available.
  • The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time.

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than grateful to not have to worry about overall survival (at least to date—part of me does fear the end days). But what I sense underneath these observations is an overall uncertainty. Will the sun come back? Will the ground come back to life? How long do we have to wait to take off these stinky sheep goat skins?

Otzi the Ice Man A 5,300 year-old (Neolithic) mummified corpse (nicknamed Otzi) found in the Austrian-Italian Alps in 1991 was discovered wearing “leggings, loincloth and jacket made of deer and goat hide; a cape made of grass and the bark of the linden tree; a hat of bearskin; shoes insulated with grass, with bearskin soles and goatskin uppers.” (McKie, Robin for The Observer Sunday May 4, 2003)

Uh-oh. That was not a quick trip. 20 minutes or so later, I dug up some information about the clothing of Neolithic agrarians, the purported first builders of Stonehenge. I wanted to check on the veracity of the sheep skin claim. I found no mention of sheep skip, but did read that tanned goat hides were used. So were capes woven from grass. Read more at a Brief History of World Costume. Again, no guarantees on source validity.

Time to wrap up. I had intended to write about resolutions for this year, but I could not help falling down the rabbit hole. I will force myself to stop and just post without going back to scrutinize. Because my biggest goal of all is to temper my “maladaptive perfectionism”* which so often compromises my ability to bring projects across the finish line—small and big, trivial and important.

*Must. Resist. Urge. to look up maladaptive perfectionism to check my usage.