Stop Being Perfect: Unleash Your Creativity

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.

Diggy writes all about self improvement and personal growth. Subscribe to his blog via RSS or Email

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{ 14 Comments }

  1. Diggy says:

    Hey Mary!

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post on Goodlifezen! I hope that your readers will really enjoy it!

    Cheers and have a beautiful weekend!
    Diggy
    .-= Diggy´s last blog ..My Secret Fool-Proof Method To Becoming Creative =-.

  2. Derek says:

    I enjoyed reading your post.

    As a Zen practitioner I would say that it is the journey not the destination. I don’t see that there is anything wrong (or right) in reaching out to perfect perfection providing I am aware of what I am aiming to do. As it is the journey, not the destination that I aim for, in Zen my aiming is aimed at aimlessness.

    Thirty years of practising daily zazen and mindfulness and here I am talking in circles after having realized that there is nowhere to go, nothing to achieve. And as you say, the beginning of creativity is no-thing, existing nowhere. Yet it can have a powerful effect on those who it touches. My words are inadequate really, but I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂
    .-= Derek´s last blog ..Into the Discursive Mind =-.

  3. Udaysree says:

    perfectionism is ego. ego kills creativity. being a channel of Existence creativity flows through you. perfectionism blocks the free flow.
    .-= Udaysree´s last blog ..How to Become a Free Channel for the Creative Energy =-.

  4. Cheryl Paris says:

    Hello Mary,

    I love this: Creativity is unique and original.
    Creativity cannot be created as by teaching in school or teaching perfection. It is gifted and can come when one has the eye (vision) for it.

    Bye for now,
    Cheryl
    .-= Cheryl Paris´s last blog ..How We Grew With An Acorn- N is for… =-.

  5. Creativity takes on a new level of meaning when viewed as the need for self expression. It’s sad to say that in our society, we systematically force children to suppress their need for self expression in the school system to the extent that most never fully recover it.
    Bummer.

    Coach Charley
    .-= Charley Hampton´s last blog ..Your Average Customer… =-.

  6. Sandy says:

    “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.”
    Yes, I quite agree.
    And even simply by being who we are we can inspire others.
    Like the other day I met a lady with mental illness and yet she inspired me so much. (check the story)
    Anyway, constructive post title, Diggy!

  7. […] Perfect insights from Diggy on Goodlife Zen […]

  8. […] de Ideeënmaker. Of de Inspiratiekamer. Staat je perfectionisme jezelf in de weg? Lees dan dit artikel over perfectionisme en creativiteit van Goodlife […]

  9. […] Stop Being Perfect : Unleash Your Creativity dal sito Goodlife Zen di Mary Jaksch. […]

  10. Jane Sheeba says:

    Hey Diggy good to see you here. Great article. I am a strong believer of “perfectionism kills creativity” and this article encourages my thought.

    Jane.
    .-= Jane Sheeba´s last blog ..How being Creative Makes you Productive =-.

  11. prodeep says:

    perfection-creativity
    whenever i am working,along with the work,i want compulsory side product of happiness,
    if i am mindful enough, i will definitely hit that sweet spot
    i should be aware whats happening outside-whats the reflection inside,

    repetition,hard-complicated task fails to stimulate the happiness feeling,as our mind battles on inside with its own thoughts,stress & doubts,if we don’t react to those negative feelings,they will subside
    in some sense we are not looking for results,we are looking for positive feelings,the constant search gets the job done,the constant search refines the work process,the constant search elevates the standard/quality,
    constant search for happiness is actually ..the happiness we are gaining from continuous improvement
    this continuous phase of improvement is our so called creativity & perfection

  12. […] Perfect insights from Diggy on Goodlife Zen […]

  13. steffphani says:

    I like your point of view here. It is better to explore your imaginations rather than stick to the things that had used to. All your blogs are containing great insights about life. Thanks for the share and I had wonderful time reading it..
    steffphani´s last blog post ..Free Dating Services

  14. […] Perfect insights from Diggy on Goodlife Zen […]

  15. Kamil Lipski says:

    Gret article ! I think that school is killing our creativity. We should think more “out of the box”.
    Kamil Lipski´s last blog post ..How To Find Low Price Cars Videos

  16. noch says:

    the perfectionist attitude has driven me mad in my work and life. i was uptight about everythign and it stifled my creativity because i was so worried i’d be flawed in any decision that was not in line wiht the “norm”. thank goodness for my depressive episode, which has given me space and time to rethink my life, stop, and rediscover my creativity via writing 🙂
    noch
    nochnoch.com

  17. Steve says:

    Thanks for sharing. So I’ve totally fallen into a ridiculous classic writing trap and I know better. But I’ve been crafting and honing and editing the life out of several blog posts that are serious and important to me. THEY MUST BE PERFECT. So I’ve been NOT BLOGGING AT ALL.
    Steve´s last blog post ..Construction Heavy Machinery

  18. It is a nice advice that people shouldn’t strive for perfection since it will only help them not to feel pressured with expectations and leading perfect lives, which could cause struggle. I agree that people should focus more to generate creativity instead of being perfectionist. In that way, they could channel their creative energy into more productivity in their usual routine.
    SEO Experts Academy Bonus´s last blog post ..SEO Experts Academy Bonus

  19. […] Stop Being Perfect: Unleash Your Creativity Diggy | GoodLifeZen […]

  20. Kaylee says:

    This is just what I needed to read today.. This morning, as I sat down to write in a quiet (for once) house, I was surprised to be met with such anxiety and resistance. Despite nearly perfect conditions, I wanted to do anything *but* write. I think the expectation of perfection is what was holding me back… Thank you for the reminder and the permission, really, to stop worrying about everyone else and express my unique self.
    Kaylee´s last blog post ..How to Get Through a Bad Mood Without Ripping Your Hair Out

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