4.1 This Harmful Illusion
Productivity hack no.41 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.
We all love an illusion. I remember being captivated by Paul Daniels, the late, great, and popular British magician. He was amazing. Real magic (to a child at least). Then there was David Copperfield, the illusionist on a grand scale. There have been plenty since, all of them captivating the audience with a collective gasp or ‘What? How did they do that?”
Back down in the real world where Magic is just a radio station there’s one illusion that’s the enemy of the would-be achiever.
Perfection does not exist. It is the ultimate illusion. What’s perfect to me is probably not to you, and vice versa. And to be honest, nothing is perfect for me really. It can always be improved upon somehow. The songs I recorded last Autumn are really good but every time I listen to them I think “Oh - I could have been a little better in tune on that note”, and “I should have had some strings filling in there”, and “That lyric could have been better.” Most people won’t notice the imperfections. But I do.
So, I could tinker with them and improve a bit, but is the improvement big enough to really warrant the effort? No.
What if I said I can’t move on to the next task on my To Do list until this one is perfect? I’d never get anything done.
Good, in the context of completing your process tasks towards your goal, is good enough. Obviously try to make everything you do as good as possible but don’t let yourself fall into the trap of using “It’s not perfect” as your chief procrastination tool and get out of jail free card.
One of the greatest lines in a song is from ‘All of Me’ by John Legend;
“Love your curves and all your edges,
All your perfect imperfections.”
Not only is he spot on that it is precisely because of imperfections that something can be perfect, but it’s also an utterly imperfect rhyme, thereby proving the point very nicely.
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