I am not famous because of Perfectionism
This is the third time I write this paper and this time I write it to share it.
Just a few minutes prior to the first sentence I have clicked Ctrl + A and deleted close to 1000 words for the third time. Waste of time it is. Did I have any good writings there? Probably. Did I save them? No. Why? Because I got frustrated.
If your answer to “What’s your biggest weakness?” is “Perfectionism” and it is actually true, then yes, my friend! You are fucked! It is one of the most trivial answers, so you are by no means original, but you are indeed fucked! And no, it is not a great thing. Perfectionism is like a disease. Will this paper help you fight it? You tell me. Let me first carefully illustrate how fucked you and I are.
Bukowski likes to imply that bad writers, talk about themselves. Well, I am a musician and absolutely no good writer, so I will be using myself as an example of the perfectionism’s epic level of “fuckedness”.
I write music since 10 years of age. Or 11. Somewhere there. I have lost count of how many songs I have in my portfolio. Guess how many I have released.
One song for 13 years, several months and a clock still ticking.
To make it even worst, I don’t even like the song. The only thing I hear when I listen to it are the things that I could have made better. That’s how perfectionism does it. It grabs you by the neck, ties your brain with the “you suck” lasso, and starts feasting on your dopamine and serotonin as if out of Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot”. Not only do you become incapable of appreciating your art (or whatever you do) but you also become doubtful of your skills.
Then I start a new song! And I become the most dedicated man alive.
“I will definitely finish and release this one!”
And so I get to work with all the sweat and tears (figuratively) involved, until I realise I have dedicated so much effort into certain parts of the project that I am slowly beginning to hate every bit of it. All the sweet hormones in which my mind was boiling are gone and I reach the “fuck it” phase. Have I ever came back to an old project? No. I associate the nasty feeling of failure with it right away, so no thank you. Move on to the next one. Thirteen years long chain.
What I’ve learned.
I cannot work on one thing at a time from start to finish. Maybe you can’t either. I started undertaking several projects simultaneously and, oh miracle! There it is. It is happening! I can finally brag about me releasing 2, maybe even 3 singles by the end of Autumn (it is a lengthy process, yes). I am not talking about multitasking! I am talking about giving yourself the freedom and variety instead of restricting your mind-set to one task only, risking turning it into an obligation.
I’ve also learned that you can’t really do it all by yourself. I was always fixated on the idea that I want my creation to be my creation and that’s final. This is the main reason why I never managed to gather a successful band, I guess. My ego was working against me pushing me to believe I need no one’s help and/or feedback, and that receiving such ultimately makes me lose credibility over my art. Now I’ve learned to share and I will keep on doing that. I advise you to do it too. It is still your creation, it just might end up being better.
One thing I will try to learn now is to care less. Not, not to care at all and join the party filling the world with senseless art, just for the sake of calling myself an artist! Just care less. This paper will be my first step. Not that I will not proof-read it but I will not really think twice about posting it due to the “this can be better” inner voice. If you like it you do, if you don’t you are not even reading this anyways.
I am not ignorant though.
I know perfectionism can be helpful and, if balanced, can improve results immensely. Needless to say it is a great characteristic when feedback is the goal. This is just a story of how it did not work out for me. I will not be able to brake my ties with it completely, nor is it my goal. I might as well dance with my enemy. I write this paper for the third time and contrary to my writings in the paragraph above, I have proof-read the paper several times already and had my fare share of correspondence with the deep, dark inner voice. Been dancing with this bitch for a while now, it seems. Quite the hypocrite. I hate hypocrites.
But here is an outcome.
I’ve published it!