Don’t get me wrong, perfectionism is not all that bad, you definitely wouldn’t have nice simple phones without the obsessive perfectionism of Steve Jobs.
But with that simplicity and beauty came a lot of sacrifices. It takes just a quick read into the biography of Steve Jobs to understand his obsession. Or mine for that matter.
For the last couple of years, especially since designing ultrabodymind, I wanted the ultimate best. There is a reason for the ultra in our name. I wanted it to be the greatest when it came to website design and content. I still do, but it’s definitely not worth the bigger picture I have for myself and the website.
Perfectionism is one of those things that when said, it makes the person that said it be seen in a good light. Yet I would argue, perfectionism is one of the worst things to have to an extent. I’ll explain why further down.
For now, I want to share a few strategies and techniques that not only will help you as they helped me, but will allow you to live a more simpler yet fulfilling life.
First. Identify your perfectionism.
Be aware of it. If you don’t see it, how can you fix it? It will be the same as riding the New York Subway without a map. Obviously you are here because you are aware of some of it. Maybe just a general idea, but you have to know it better than that. You have to know your triggers, the places where you tend to become more obsessive. Your habits that lead to perfectionism and your fears.
Knowledge is power.
The better you know yourself the easier it will be to carry out new, smart and effective behaviors to help you counteract the bad habit of perfectionism.
Yes a habit. Something we learn not something we are born with. And it can be fixed the same way you fix a habit.
Second. See the big picture
This is the visualization part and it is powerful.
I will urge you to start your mornings with a proper morning routine as well as a night routine. Why is this?
Simple. By controlling the beginnings and endings of your days, it will be easier to set the proper tone for the rest of the day.
A good morning routine will include a powerful visualization section. It can be whatever you want it to be that brings you a sense of purpose. Some people like meditation, others affirmations, writing in a journal, etc. These are a few ideas; make sure to implement a few that work for you.
My visualization routine consist of 2 parts:
Each morning I beginning my day by reviewing my goals, just a quick glance. Closing my eyes and visualizing how the rest of my day will go.
And the second part which is crucial. I do it when I am falling down the rabbit hole of perfectionism. What do I mean by that?
Whenever I start worrying or obsessing about something that will not take me closer to my goals (80/20 law. I’ll make another article about this). I will stop. I abruptly stop.
That’s because I know I have to shake it up. Perfection is like being slowly cooked alive like the frog in the pot. First it starts as a nice feeling, by the end of it you are 4 hours in, doing something that doesn’t really matter that much, like fonts (Don’t get me started with fonts).
Just google “Steve Jobs obsession with fonts”. Yes, his obsession did revolutionize computer interface but do you know which font is this text written in?
Once I recognize I am being a perfectionist. I stand up (if I’m sitting), I shake my body, my neck. Any part of my body that feels stiff (see Tony Robbins On How To Instantly Change Your Mental State). I do this because the mind and the body are intertwine. Then I close my eyes and say 3 of my goals I want to accomplish this year:
I want to learn French.
I want to travel to South America.
I want to be my own boss.
By the time I open my eyes, things become clearer in priority and the things that don’t matter go right out the window.
Third. Good enough is good enough
It only takes visiting some of the most popular website out there to realize that most of them have terrible designs and functionality for the users. Yet, good enough is good enough.
Our whole world was made under those words. It’s a powerful mantra that allows us to move on. Some people don’t even need to think about it. They just move. But for a perfectionist, a few tricks need to be in place to control that urge.
In a typical day I will say this mantra to myself at least 10 times. “that’s good enough, move on”.
We have the words. Cool, but what does this mean in real life practice?
It means that you should strive to do your best, push your limits, but at the end of the day remind yourself of the bigger picture and occupy yourself with other things that are more important.
Too general? You want something more practical?
Sure. What I practically do when I know I’m working in something that might make me become a paranoid perfectionism is the following:
I carry a journal. In this I write anything that needs to be done and the degree of importance.
If I am smart, I will start with the most important, and urgent tasks and move down the list (this reminds me of the Steven Covey’s 4 quadrants from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (I will make an article as well for this, you can check out his book in the meantime )).
Before starting any task, I will set a timer in my clock. Once the time is up, I moved on. If the task was not finish or at least moved out of urgency list, I will set it for the next day to be worked on.
However if the task was not completed but moved out of urgency, it will not be worked on unless it becomes urgent again.
Now this might sound like I am being sloppy and not finishing my tasks to completion. And I would agree with you except that one of the biggest most successful companies in our times uses this system.
Can you guess which company? Hint: you use it more than you eat apples (and yes this is a hint that is not apple)
One of the most innovative and powerful companies of our time. They are not ‘completionist’. This is because good enough is good enough and if you only work in urgent and important task you get a lot of things done.
Once all urgent things are done, of course you move to the important but not urgent tasks. But if you are a billion dollar company with plans of providing free Internet to everyone, inventing self drivable cars and more, then that might be never.
Imagine all the things you could do and how different your life will look like if you were to do all the most important and urgent goals in your life? Lose weight. Done. Read more books. Done. Eat healthier? Done. You get the power of this idea?
(All the google info was taken from the book: I’m feeling lucky, the confessions of Google employee number 59)
When in doubt. Meditate.
Now that should be on a shirt. Perhaps someday ultrabodymind will sell shirts. Although I have a feeling someone of you will grab the idea and start selling this shirts. If you do. At least send us some shirts. Or bad karma will come upon you 🙂
But on a more serious note. Why meditation?
Well, like we talked before. Obsessive perfectionism is a mental habit. Meditation helps with a lot of mental illnesses. Such as stress, anxiety, nervousness, and countless more.
That’s why meditate. It’s powerful. Especially for people like us that have a hard time letting go.
Meditation calms the mind. It brings awareness to what’s going on inside and allows you to be more attuned to both your mind and body.
You can also do some sort of visualization like we talked since it is a form of meditation. Still, you’ll want to add a few minutes a day of meditation. Or what I like to call “calm silence”. No phones, no tv, no distractions.
Breath in, breath out. It’s all there is to it.
Remember, life is more beautiful when you learn to appreciate it the way it is: full of imperfections. Let your perfectionism be your biggest asset and work on implementing what I share here. Your life will be better this way.
No more Arial vs Helvetica.
Because at the end of the day.
Good enough Is good enough.