She who ships, wins… but for perfection
Overcoming the enemy that is yourself.
I admit to having a problem that I can’t keep to myself any more.
Even though I’ve been in love with the internet since the days of Prodigy, this is my first post. At least one person might wonder: if I’ve been on the internet since 1991 (give or take a year), why has it taken me so long to write a freaking post? Well, let me admit it.
Hello, My name is Pam and I’m a perfectionist.
My therapist has told me I have what amounts to a twin fear of failure and success. The result is what I’m calling creative impotence.
When the creative wind comes through, I write my ideas down in scattered places, both electronic and physical. After pulling out these ideas, I often go as far as performing cursory background research to flesh them out, but my interest fritters away or my mind moves on to some other idea. Invariably, the fruitless pattern repeats: scraps of paper lost, electronic notes buried in avalanches of saved but unorganized data.
From time to time, I take money and throw it at my problem, thinking that will solve it. A new laptop, journal, pen — as if the right tool is all I need to create something halfway substantial. And yet, I can’t get further than noting my ideas or discussing them with friends.
I’ve had an invite from Medium sitting in my inbox since August 6th — before the doors fully opened. Weekend after weekend past, and now it’s November. Dammit, I’m not satisfied with my personal status quo. Though my career’s been moderately successful, I can’t shake the feeling that there is so much more I can be doing. I have some talent, and I’m tired of squandering it.
Perhaps the direction I need for my improvement is contained within a post I’ve reread a number of times: Nishant Kothary’s “The Merry Stormtrooper.” Nishant gave the most practical explanation of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow that I’ve ever encountered. Briefly put in my own words, to achieve flow, you set goals that are just out of reach, goals that help you grow in order to attain them.
I can’t think of another exercise besides writing that would work as well toward helping myself achieve a state of flow, and beyond that, self-fulfillment.
It probably also means I must cut back on the mindless consumption of TV series and movies. Instead of consuming the stories of others, I need to tell my own.
My posts don’t have to be perfect. I need to have a checklist of posts and projects to ship, and check off one thing at a time. The time to begin is, with this very post, now.