Walk into any classroom around the world and you'll see every possible combination of race, family, religion and economic circumstances meshing together in a group setting. Some students are working hard, others not so much but that all are being trained that perfection is the goal.
This quest to be perfect is a poisonous mindset that society handicaps us with in our youth. While being perfect would certainly be ideal for most, the concept of perfection rarely translates beyond the classroom quiz. Yet, we are trained to chase the likely unattainable with both body and mind and most are fully committed to the task before puberty hits.
In short, perfection is a mirage. A moving target that all facets of social order uses against you to bend you the most uncomfortable and complicated forms. The quest for perfection undermines your relationships with everyone around you, including yourself.
The question we must ask ourselves isn't "how do we change this?" because that damage has already been inflicted. You can't undo decades of bad wiring. However, you can acknowledge it and once that happens the real question can be asked — "what has this kept me from doing?"
The answers that flow forth from this are vast and ongoing. The first items that present themselves will often be things we already know but have never fully accepted. Mentally, it will gravitate toward confidence. So often, mental demons hold us back simply because we lack the confidence needed to shed them. Much of this is related to the quest for perfection. Physically, almost everyone — myself included — has wrestled with self-image issues to some degree. Even the asshole jock from high school gets old and begins to feel the tug of perfection.
Our quest for greatness has sapped us of other vital opportunities as well, namely with regard to time.
The concept of waiting for the perfect moment isn't uncommon for most of us and in many ways, it can be a very healthy thing. Like most things, we tend to take this concept to extremes and time begins to reflect the same attributes as our bodies.
Forever waiting, but it's just as likely that we're stalling and the excuses attached to our actions are predictable.
- Needing more time for work to settle down.
- The family is in a rough spot at the moment.
- The parents are getting older and more time needs to be spent back home.
- We have a new baby on the way.
- The car needs a new windshield.
- Just need the market to rebound a little.
- More money in savings would be nice.
- My student loans are crushing me and I need to work more.
All the items listed above are sound examples of situations that cause us to put life on hold while the current life dilemma passes by. What we often fail to acknowledge is that every dilemma in life is generally followed by another dilemma. That's how life works. You either adapt your situation so that you can continue to grow, or you stay trapped in your current lane, forever.
That's how we stay locked in cages of our own design as the only seconds you will ever have tick right on by.
While I'm not proposing or intending for you to launch off the couch and begin working 80 hours to reach your dreams, I do believe today is the moment you take charge of the road ahead of you. There are 24 hours in a day and 8 of them are probably dedicated to work while another 8 should be dedicated to rest. That leaves 8 other hours to work with and I want you to take two of them to work on you.
Taking two hours away from the world doesn't require you to abandon your family. You might even be able to find that time by watching less YouTube. Perhaps toxic hours of time spent on Facebook will be a thing of the past. If you see your friends often after work, perhaps once a week going to be a neccessary sacrafice on the path to the more amazing you.
Now that you have the time, you have to determine what you are going to do with it. Regardless of what that is, being deliberate and consistent with your effort is just as important as rearranging your life to have the time available. Without commitment, nothing changes.
Be pragmatic. Take your personal growth seriously but also understand that it is a marathon — not a sprint. Any number of issues or distractions will present themselves and it will be so easy to simply let things get in the way. Stay on task and commit.
A little bit better, every single day is always better than waiting for perfect to never come.