A Guest Post by Diggy of Upgrade Reality
We are all indoctrinated to attain perfection. It starts in school where they teach us to get perfect grades or 100% for tests. Beauty magazines tell us to have blemish-free skin. The media tells us to have a spotlessly clean floor or house. In today’s society, perfection is the norm and anything less than that is just average.
Since perfection is pretty impossible to attain, “surprisingly” many of us never reach it. After all, which person is really perfect and who can do a job absolutely perfectly every single time? This is a big contributor to the depression and limiting beliefs in many people’s lives all around the world. If the expectation is ‘perfection’ but you can’t reach it, then there must be something wrong with you. From a logical deduction it must mean that you are a failure. (I feel that this is true only if you believe it to be true).
Perfection Extinguishes Creativity
Creativity is unique and original.
There are no set requirements or guidelines for how it should occur or take form. By placing an expectation on the end result (the expectation being perfection) and by turning creativity into a process it discourages us to try new methods or implement new ideas. The reason for this is simple: by venturing off into the unknown or the uncertain, perfection is far from guaranteed, so we take the most safe and known path to be able to reach perfection. (which is usually the monotonous and common path that everyone else takes).
The following is an extract from the book ‘Linchpin’ by Seth Godin:
A guy is riding in the first-class cabin of a train in Spain and to his delight, he notices that he is sitting next to Pablo Picasso. Gathering up his courage, he turns to the master and says,
“Senor Picasso, you are a great artist, but why is all your art, all modern art, so screwed up? Why don’t you paint reality instead of all these distortions?”
Picasso hesitates for a moment and asks, “So what do you think reality looks like?”
The man grabs his wallet and pulls out a picture of his wife. “Here, like this. It’s my wife.”
Picasso takes the photograph, looks at it, and grins. “Really? She’s very small. And flat, too.”
Let’s say as an example that you want to become a master painter like Pablo Picasso. You tell yourself that the only way to make great art is to paint a perfect replica of a photograph because if it is perfect it must be great art and skill and everybody will think that you are a master painter. If you follow this approach I am afraid that you will never become a great artist
Stop Being (Other People’s) Perfect
If you stop trying to please other people by trying to meet their definitions of perfect, you take a lot of weight off your shoulders. The expectation of making something perfect is a big stress that constantly eats away at you, thus using up emotional energy that you could put to much better use (for being creative and artistic).
You should do everything to the best standard that you can, so you are satisfied with your own work. Strive for your own definition of perfection (which may be totally the opposite of the general consensus). What I mean by this is that you should not do anything half-assed just because you are rebelling against perfection. You should work on something until you are totally satisfied with it and you have achieved the result that you wanted from it.
Let the artist and genius within you shine. You may not think you are a genius and you may not think you are an artist because you have told yourself this for many years. Maybe other people have told you that you are not a genius or an artist and you believed them.
I believe that everyone is good at something. Every single person has a unique gift or way of expressing themselves that will make a positive change on the life of at least one other person. However, if we never try new things and risk being laughed at or humiliated (or even risk being a total failure), we will never discover our true artist and genius within.
Some of the greatest people of all time (take the Wright Brothers for example) have been ridiculed for their ideas and their work in the initial stages. These people did not take it to heart and carried on with what they believed in and what they were passionate about and this led to them being truly remarkable
Be Creative For The Right Reasons
We all have a gift to be able to influence people in some unique way, whether it be through words, music, painting, sport, construction, food or anything else you can think of really, the list is endless. Even if you are not the best in the world at something, if you are really passionate about it, your passion can be an inspiration and motivation for others.
All this talk about being creative and artistic may have inspired you to stop following the rules so strictly and to question the expectation of perfection with everything that you do. You may want to explore the edges of the box you have been confined in up till now, which is the beginning of discovering the true artist and genius within you.
Here are some pointers about being creative:
- Don’t be creative because it is your job and it is expected of you.
- Don’t be creative for the want of financial or material gain.
- Becreative because it is your gift to the world. Make a difference with yourgenius and your art. ( I define art as making something out of nothing that will have a positive impact and change on someone).
The things you are going to create have the possibility to change the lives of others and the world as we know it today for the better. If you are creative because you enjoy the process of creating your form of art and you enjoy sharing it with others, then you may very well find that it will bring financial or material gain. You may become famous or rich as a result of the things you create, but that should not be the reason why you want to be creative.
Make The Choice
You have the choice to break free from the expected perfection in our society. You have the choice to not just follow a system where other people tell you how to live and what you can and cannot do. Allow your inner genius and artist to express themselves. At first it may seem difficult and it may feel like you are not creative at all, because you have been suppressing that inner artist for so many years.
Don’t let the self-limiting and false belief of “I am not talented or artistic” hold you back from expressing yourself. Find something that you enjoy doing and focus your energy and attention on it. Even if you suck at it initially, your passion and energy will let you keep going and keep trying. You will get better and better and eventually you will be able to create something that affects the lives of many people in a positive way.
All you have to do is make the decision that what I’m telling you is not utter nonsense and that you are going to stop living up to the expectations of other people. Don’t do it because I tell you to, do it for yourself. Live up to your own expectations and follow your heart and passion to allow you to express yourself in the way you were meant to.
Stop trying to be perfect and start being creative and artistic. Share your unique gift with the world.