The Willingness to be Slightly Imperfect
Photo Credit: Jessica Lucia via Compfight
I’ve been known to make mistakes in my work. The other day I got some feedback on a new book that I’m wrapping up and the person reading it loved the book, but then said it had lots of typos towards the end. Part of me cringed. But then I realized my willingness to be slightly imperfect enabled me to get this far with it. The reader even offered to edit it for me because she enjoyed the book. Most of us don’t even start because we think we have to be perfect.
If you take a look at my journaling software you’ll see that it’s filled with false starts, poorly written paragraphs, half baked ideas and other things that should never see the light of day. However they’re also the seeds for some of my best work. Sometimes those seeds are as simple as a sentence or a phrase. I’ll usually build from that into something more substantial.
However, we’ve been taught our whole lives that being imperfect is a bad thing. If you miss a problem or spell a word wrong on a test, it gets marked in red. Even when you get a A the site of a red pen makes you cringe. The results of course is our risk tolerance plummets as we get older. No more willingness to dance on the edge of failure…terrified by the idea of flying close to the sun. This is such a tragedy that causes so many brilliant people to believe that they’re not.
Nothing is Perfect When You Start
There’s a website called the Wayback machine. It allows you to see what a web site looked like 10 years ago. Take a look at what Yahoo looked like in the early 90′s. It was just a bunch of links. Nobody would have said “this is a billion dollar company” in the making. Sure it’s hit its demise. But in its heyday Yahoo was a big deal.
Something like The Extraordinary Achiever’s Manifesto (which is still imperfect) starts as nothing more than a sentence. It’s been downloaded over 1000 times. If I was afraid of my mistakes I’d never put myself in the position to even experience that many people reading my work. Does everybody love it? I have no idea. There may be people that completely hate it. That’s ok.
It’s only in the willingness to be slightly imperfect, and realizing our flaws make us original that we can create from within and share our truth with the world. Once you become ok with at, it’s the most liberating thing in the world. You stop second guessing every word you write. You publish things that you know people might vehemently disagree with but other people will absolutely love. You find the tribe, the army, and the people who become friends for life. I’m so damn far from perfect, it’s almost funny.
- I talk too much (on occasion).
- I watch movies that most people think are terrible and love them.
- I become COMPLETELY obsessed with things I love (like surfing).
- I find my foot in my mouth on numerous occasions (just ask some of my closest friends)
This is me in all my glory…(if you want to call it that). When you can find that in yourself, maybe, that’s when magic starts to happen.
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