Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Perfection vs. Pursuit of excellence

  "Enjoy the process...you mean puberty?" Quote from my son.  No, I don't mean puberty but for a 16 year old boy that might be applicable.  What I am learning is to enjoy the process in general, whether it is my process towards being like Christ or my art.  Oddly enough, until I learned what perfectionism was I didn't think I was a perfectionist and if I did I didn't think it was a bad thing.  That was until I learned the difference between perfectionism and a healthy pursuit of excellence.  (the following is a loose interpretation from "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns)
With perfectionism:
  1. I fear failure
  2. I am never satisfied
  3. Nothing is good enough
  4. I find my value in what I do and how well I do it (which I never do good enough so therefore I am never good enough)
  5. My acceptance by others is based on conditions.  I must do this and that and do it well to be accepted by others
  6. I must be strong and not express my feelings or be vulnerable.  If people really knew the real me they wouldn't like me
A healthy pursuit of excellence is:
  1. Being motivated by  enthusiasm and excitement in the process.  Finding the creative process exhilarating.
  2. The effort in the project brings satisfaction and a sense of satisfaction even if it isn't the "greatest" (of course "greatest" as defined by me"
  3. You enjoy a sense of unconditional self esteem, or you trust the truths of God who truly defines your self worth wrapped up in who he is. 
  4. Not being afraid to fail.  Everyone isn't successful all the time. A failure is just an opportunity for growth and learning. 
  5. You're not afraid of being vulnerable or sharing your feelings with people you care about. This makes you feel closer to them. 
  6. The pursuit of excellence includes learning to enjoy the process, which inevitably leads to the surprise outcomes along the way that perfectionism never allows to be enjoyed.
I have a ways to go,but I am tired of not enjoying life and I think some of that has to do with my perspective that everything I do must be perfect, like I am God or something.  The above painting was a major eye opener for me.  I found myself getting so upset because it wasn't looking perfect, again as defined by me.  Instead of finding the joy in the creative process I was frustrated and ready to quit painting all together.  It really isn't about the outcome it really is about how I get there.  I am not successful because my painting resembles a girl I am successful because I created, I was close to my creator while doing it, I learned that I don't want to be a perfectionist and pursuing excellence is way more enjoyable. I AM GOING TO ENJOY THE PROCESS

1 comment: