A Balancing Act

One of the best feelings you can get is when you're locked in conversation with someone.  You've opened up and put yourself out there and are caught sharing stories of the old days, that one embarrassing moment a few years ago, or simply how you can relate to what someone else is telling you.

Too often are the times where people seem lost in their own thoughts.  It seems harder to have that connection with someone else.  We get too worried about what we're going to say and how we'll fit into somebody else's perspective.  It becomes a seemingly inescapable circle where it's preferred to remain secluded; a place where it's safe to exist at any one point.   And in this place, we're completely hindering our own natural functioning- our flow.  

Now, I'm no psychologist and I'm speaking mostly from experience and observation.  I have experienced the sensation of putting myself out there in conversation when normally I wouldn't.  When you're there, you don't care about the good or the bad.  You don't care about what people might think or find yourself caught up in what's going to be the 'safe' thing to say or do.  You care about the flow of conversation; maybe it's making people laugh, or sharing those silly stories that someone reminded you of with something they said.  Most importantly, however, it forces you to listen. You must listen carefully and considerately.  This means you have to be in the moment.  The second you start thinking about the past or the future you're holding yourself back from engaging in meaningful conversation, and people will see that.  

Recently I've been interested in the idea of perfectionism and how it affects us.  The idea being that any task that faces us, whether it be mowing the lawn, going to the gym, a date, visiting your parents, a project at work, inevitable conflict, or anything else that could increase your stress levels, you need to execute it perfectly, 100%.  

The truth that none of us want to accept is that that's impossible.  We'll never absolutely nail something with all bases covered, absolutely flawless, undoubtedly the best that that thing could have been.  We will have to put out imperfections in everything we do because we are human.  What we ought to strive for is our 90%.  We have standards for ourselves in everything we do when we're weighed down by this idea of being perfect.  What we need to realize is that our 90% may be, and many times will be a better product than somebody else's 100%.  We owe our standards for this.  Every percent closer you get to that 90% or beyond is what you feel when you say "I'm giving this 110% of my effort."  We simply have to admit that 100% perfection isn't a realistic thing.  Furthermore, for every imperfection we put out confidently aware that it received our best and honest efforts, we are raising the bar for our 90% and our ability to reach it.

Once we accept our imperfections, we're in a balancing act of where to critique and where to draw the line.  Obviously you don't want to mindlessly put out awful work because you've accepted imperfection, but you also don't want to be nitpicking infinitely.  As Stephen King once said, "Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door opened."  You have to draw the line somewhere and accept that you will create a greater product once you let people in to see what you've started.  Even more importantly, you must to listen to what those people say.  

If you keep it all in your head and don't leave anything on the table, you're not really anything more than a glorified procrastinator.  So make that deadline for yourself.  Accept that whatever you do between now and then will not be perfect.  Say it in the mirror if you have to!  Don't be afraid of conflict and the stress that will weigh down your productivity if you let it.
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