Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ain't no perfection -- but there's always my best!

This morning, while reading an article on goals and focus, the author stated that we should never forget that Zeno's paradox rules -- perfection is unattainable because if we are always covering the ground between the first half of our goal, and then half of the next half and so on, we are always covering half the ground of the half left, and thus can never reach our goal.

Hmmm... seemed rather complex to my coffee deprived mind this morning. Must need another cup.

The article did however, inspire my thinking about my goals this morning. I had a goal to publish my book. It's done. To achieve it, I had to let go of my inherent desire for perfection. I had to reach a point where I stated. Enough. My best is good enough. My best will never be perfect because perfection is unattainable. Perfection is relative. Perfection is not my goal. My goal is to publish my book.

To attain my goal I needed both a target, and a timeline. Once that timeline was reached, I had to let go of improving what I had created and accept that there will be other books, but there were no more words for that book. I had to accept that the time had come for my book to venture out into the big wide world beyond my desktop so that it could create value of its own, out there. Letting it go created value in my life because a) I had achieved my goal b) I had increased my self-confidence and my belief in myself and my ability, and c) I created value in my own life that continues to build my capacity to achieve more goals. And that is the paradox -- there is no dearth of goals for me to achieve. There is always a new horizon, a new tomorrow, a new set of goals to write down and make possible. Possibilities are limitless. There is always tomorrow. But right now, setting goals, planning my path to their attainment, working towards them, that is the key. Perfection is the myth.

Nothing is perfect. Nothing is perfection. Perfection is nothing -- other than a self-sabotaging tool I use to keep me from achieving the real-time goals of my dreams.

Beside my desk, my Vision Map hangs, a visual tour of my dreams becoming reality. It is not static. It is not stagnant. There are words and images I see everyday that I want to add to it. The challenge is to accept the Map as it is, not as an opportunity to make it perfect. As long as adding to does not become an exercise in making it perfect, the Vision Map will be my visual aid in creating more of what I want in my life. Perfection is nothing -- other than a desire to avoid being in the here and now. When I reach for perfection, I avoid standing where I'm at. In this moment, in accepting all that is, and all that I am, I am perfectly human, just as I am.

It is what I love about reading. One thought spurs a thousand ideas and one thought focuses my thinking on where I need to be.

I have been struggling of late with my goals. With understanding why somedays I seem to pull myself away from them, rather than take the necessary steps towards them.

I've been suffering from perfectionitis.

Not just the, it's got to be just right, kind. But the, if I can't do it right, then I should wait until I get it right before I begin.

I have used perfectionitis as an excuse to end things before they've ever begun. "I can't do that, I don't know how." being one of my favourite excuses. As a child, I didn't know how to read. I didn't quit because I didn't know how, I learned to read, one letter at a time. Word-by-carefully spelled-out-word at a time. EAch word led to a sentence, paragraph, page, until one day, the letters and words made sense. Yet, still today I do not know every word in the dictionary. I continually learn new ones, which means, I am continually learning to read new things. I'll never be a perfect reader -- I'll always be perfectly content with my ability to read and the opportunities reading present to learn, and grow, and change, and expand, and challenge new ideas, new horizons, new beginnings, middles, ends, new possibilities.

Once upon a time, I didn't know how to drive. Hmmm. Seems like there might still be a lot of people out there who don't! Just kidding! After years of driving, there are many actions that are handled by my subconscious. Like putting the car in gear, stepping on the gas, turning on the signal light (we are supposed to do that you know!) so that other drivers can anticipate where I'm going. Much of driving has become an automatic response -- but I still learn about driving every time I get in the car. As Calgary's roads become more congested and construction blossoms on every corner, I'm learning all sorts of new routes, new hand signals (from other drivers!) and most of all, patience.

I will never be perfectly patient. But I am getting better. Every day.

Isn't it interesting. This morning I read an article about goals and focus and focused my thinking on perfectionitis -- and its debilitating effects on my ability to attain my goals.

In my mind, I use perfectionitis to keep me from taking action. Another way to spell perfectionitis is: F-E-A-R -- which stands for: False Evidence Appearing Real. The possibilities of perfection is false, and yet, I strive to make it appear real. Fear is my excuse to not risk leaping into the unknown. I use it as an excuse to not risk taking the steps I need to reach my goals. And, I use it as an excuse to not risk being the perfectly imperfect human that I am. I use it as the excuse that let's me off the hook of spinning my own dreams. I use fear as my excuse.

Thanks Zeno! I will never attain perfection at some distant date. All I have is now. Thus, in the now I can attain my goals by staying focused on my journey, not the outcome. In the now, I can measure my success by ensuring every goal I make has a timeline attached that I am committed to staying true to -- unless my goal changes as I move along the continuum of my success. To achieve my goals I must be willing to make the hard choices. Is it time to let go? Is it time to step further? Is it time to move on and reach for another goal -- write another book. Paint another painting. Draw another map.

As Kenny Rogers sings, "You gotta know when to hold. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run."

Today, I'm running into this moment of my life excited by the possibilities of my day. My book is not perfect. It is a reflection of my story, my journey and my ability to attain my goals. This post today will never be perfect -- but it is a statement of my best right now. I give it my all, and let it go.

Perfection is relative. Life is in the motion. In the action. In the being alive and taking action to live my life freely. Of being unfettered by unattainable perfection, and staying connected to my goals, which I believe are attainable, because -- life is in the possibilities, my willingness to leap into the very real and possible goal of living the life of my dreams by standing in the now and doing my best, being my best, creating my best every moment of my life.

Better is always possible. In the now, my best is good enough.

May your best guide you into today and its limitless possibilities to be the best day of your life yet.

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