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Progress Not Perfection

ilonacodes profile image Ilona Codes ・4 min read

I had arrived too early around 30 minutes before my appointment with a cosmetologist and still had time to spend alone in a nice cafe.

I like this state because there is that opportunity to think.

And I am coming up with the idea for today post: how to overcome the pressure to be perfect.

There are really a lot of things which inspired me writing about this topic.

For example, my skin.

I always wanted to have perfect, smooth, nice looking and clean one, without any problems, but I don't have and have to visit a cosmetologist for that, spend around 2 hours there that to reach and maintain a "fine" skin level.

Instead of the perfect result which I continue pursuing.

However, I see the progress. And that motivates me to believe that one day I will have skin which I want.

Sorry, that you waste a few seconds to read that kind of personal "intro" to the post about one of my "pains."

Let's move closer to the point.

Most people want to make things perfect. Sometimes we evaluate the complexity of an upcoming goal or a problem. So, the fear to not complete it perfectly or "wrong" (Yeah, who are judges? 🤔) stops us even from trying.

I am the same type. And writing a blog post about how to deal with perfectionism and the pressure to be perfect is kind of ironic.

However, I have had to learn a lot so that I still can give fewer fucks and get stuff done, keep moving forward even if I feel like things are not that cool enough.

And now I want to share my learnings (btw, I am still learning) about how to not pressure yourself if the things are not going that perfect.

Let's list.

Strive for progress

Usually, we can find ourselves chasing something that's not even possible to accomplish in the short term as we would like.

So that, during the process we forget to look at what we have accomplished already.

As a result, we shift our perspective and stop motivating ourselves to keep going and giving up soon.

Instead, try to focus on the progress that you have made already. Because progress breeds confidence and can often be the push you need to keep continuing.

Keep working - not giving up

The truth, I get overwhelmed all the time. You do the same, right?

I am trying to take on my TODO-list too much, starting things I don't usually finish. Besides that, I love planning and have commitment issues (in my case, it means, I am just flat out afraid of failing).

To handle the mess of my ambitions, I remind myself and follow the simple lifehack:

... As I am continuing to try new things...
... And putting myself out my comfort zone...
... So that, I am doing my best and always something 👌

Switch context

When it comes down to it, we are only human. And I genuinely believe context switching helps us avoid routine, boost our productivity and applies to just about everything.

In life, everyone ends up somewhere, but few end up somewhere on purpose. We should define the life direction, where we would go to and reach that.

Perfectionism can play a harmful role in our journey to your dreams. After 10 times of failure, we intend to give up and shift a direction. I have tried to do that too and understood later, perhaps, after 100 times of failing I will be there where I want to be? 🤔 Let's see.

Also, it's essential to balance switching between social roles.

For example, in the morning I am an employee, and in the evening I am a daughter for my parents, that actually still don't understand what I am actually doing in my life and always support me.

Start small

I am seeking perfection, and I am not a perfectionist, because I cannot do things perfectly 🤷‍♀️

But I have learned that doing small things is often more important than doing big things. And I am trying to focus on this when I am stuck.

If you want to do something perfectly, break your goal down into smaller tasks. I always find it easiest to get stuff done when I am not thinking about every aspect of the project at the same time.

Nobody is perfect

I have known for a long time that nobody is perfect, but as though I still feel I am only just starting to get in my core.

I am trying to be real with people in offline and online life. However, I have my bad days and anxieties and problems. And everybody has them.

Just accept yourself and try to improve yourself in the "gaps" you have.

Even though, sometimes the imperfect things in us (in our opinions) are the most attractive for others. I am happy to have "my people" in life:

  • They are fun
  • They are kind
  • They are real
  • They have their flaws

Thank you for reading this post!

I think it would be cool to get a conversation going about the role of perfectionism in your life.

Do you have any pressure because of that? If yes, how does it impact you?
Do you have any other approaches to handle that? Yes? How?


Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

Discussion (7)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

We overestimate what we can get done in a year and underestimate what we can do in a decade.

Keeping the longterm progress in mind is key.

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Ilona Codes Author

You are right!

Moreover, we need to develop a big vision picture to design our future. This will help us to understand our values and set up related goals.

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James dengel

At a previous workplace, we had a presentation on "good enough?", we had to define a percentage that was good enough for a feature for release, the crux of the question was what are we designing, obviously an aircraft had to be good enough 99.999% of the time as people really need to depend on a aircraft for their lives.
However a personal webscraping project might only work 80% of the time because of things outside your control, websites might be down, network connection issues, local WiFi issues, layouts change on the sites you view. But 80% might be "good enough" for what you need to achieve, so we need to keep that in mind as well.
Perfection is a myth but each time you create or skirt something you should be doing it to improve and make it better.
Just my 2 cents.

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Jan Küster

Related reading suggestion: Brock & Hundley - The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher's Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve. Although it focuses on teachers to improve their classes I found this really useful to setup my mind towards "progress over outcome" plus it improved my strategies as a mentor.

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Hossein Nedaee

I'm a perfectionist person. It's really bad. I want to create my open source projects or work on my ideas but still I can't even start, just because anything should be perfect.
I really suffer from perfectionist in my life it stops me in every interesting thing that I really want to to do, photography, writing, development and ...
I hope I can remove it from my life.

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Paul Isaris

I totally agree. I think that forming habits is way more important than achieving difficult goals.

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Marin Barišić

I have a lot of issues regarding perfectionism, where it would stop me from even starting...

But i am working on that day by day.