Why Waiting Sucks: An Ode to Imperfection
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it was started in an instant. That instant wasn’t when whoever thought of Rome came up with Rome, and it certainly wasn’t when they told some of their buddies about Rome either. It wasn’t even when they posted about Rome on Facebook to get ‘thoughts and feedback’ and the status went viral. Rome was started when they took the first action towards making it happen.
I’m can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I’ve got a bad case of perfectionism; while the science is still out on whether this condition is hereditary or environmental, the symptoms can be debilitating. No, this is not a humble brag or a bad answer to a common interview question, but a simple statement of fact: I fear my work being judged in an imperfect or incomplete form, which leads me to put off and often abandon pursuits before I’ve really dug into them in the first place. Everything sounds phenomenal when I think about it or talk about it, but my GOD is it tough to immediately live up to those words in practice.
As someone who doesn’t consider himself to have an artistic bone in his body and has now been paid as a UX designer, this fear of inadequacy and judgment is something to get over on a regular basis. I know I’m not going to create something that draws praise, visually speaking, on the first, second, or even third attempt, but the only way to get to something that will is to put out imperfect work. Every time I make something and show it to someone for the first time, I know their nose is going to crinkle and they’re going to say something to the effect of “interesting font choice” or “are you married to those colours?”, and my job is to really listen to them, internalize the feedback, and go back to the drawing board. That’s how getting better at things works, at least in my world.
I think we may buy into the notion of overnight success, of starting a pursuit and immediately being praiseworthy, a bit too easily. More often than not, the people in our lives who we think are incredible at what they do started out entirely unexceptional but were willing to work through it. It took them courage to start doing something they aren’t good at; that courage is the foundation of all things new, beautiful and worth doing.
And so, while I have been writing on my own for a good long while, this is my first Medium article! This is also a start to Nspire’s journey on Medium, so double duty on the judging front. There was no point in waiting to make something better; we dive in, we get our hands dirty, and we work on it until we’re good enough that sophomoric efforts are looked back at with more fondness than shame.