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Progress Over Perfection

January 31, 2023

I choose progress over perfection

Why is progress more important than perfection?

The pursuit of perfection can be harmful if it becomes all-consuming and prevents you from making progress towards your goals. It's important to recognize that perfection is subjective and that striving for it can be driven by ego or a desire for attention. Instead, it's better to focus on making progress and continuously improving, recognizing that time is a finite resource and that it's better to get things done to the best of your ability rather than waiting for the perfect outcome. To shift your mindset towards progress, try identifying your underlying motivations for achieving your goals, realize that time is limited, and set achievable goals with acceptable quality rather than aiming for an ideal that may not be attainable. It's also helpful to practice self-compassion and let go of the need for perfection in order to lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

A progress mentality is founded on the idea of growth and development. We see growth physically as we age and evolve, and we also see it in other areas such as learning new skills, developing emotional intelligence, strengthening relationships, and more.

To cultivate a progress mentality, it is essential to prioritize growth and development. Many of us have been taught to believe in a fixed mindset, in which certain traits are perceived as inherent and unchanging. For example, we may say "I'm not good at math" or "I'm not a people person." However, a growth mindset allows us to recognize that with effort and practice, we can improve and develop new abilities.

Embracing a progress mentality can free us from perfectionism and its negative effects, and it can also bring a greater sense of self-awareness and purpose. Research from the Harvard Business Review suggests that a growth mindset can help individuals "understand who they are, what they stand for, and how they want to move forward

It's essential to remember that everyone has their own journey and that it's not productive or healthy to compare yourself to others. Instead of striving for perfection, it's better to focus on making progress and working towards your own goals. By setting clear intentions and realizing that time is a finite resource, you can work towards achieving what matters to you without getting bogged down in the pursuit of perfection. Remember to also be kind to yourself and embrace your own unique qualities and skills. Trust in your own abilities and know that you are capable of making progress and achieving success in your own way.
Perfectionism can manifest in many different ways, and it is important to identify and understand our own specific patterns. Often, perfectionism is fueled by fear, such as the fear of failure or disapproval. For example, spending excessive time on a simple task like writing an email may be driven by a fear of making a mistake. Procrastination on important tasks may stem from a fear of not being capable or knowledgeable enough to do a perfect job. Tight control over personal relationships or situations, overworking, apathy, and avoidance of risk are all potentially connected to perfectionism.

To shift our mindset, it is essential to recognize our own perfectionist behaviors and explore the underlying fears or motivations driving them.

True mastery of a skill is achieved through diligent and consistent focus on small improvements in the present moment, rather than fixating on the unattainable ideal of perfection. While it is important to be self-aware and have clarity about areas for growth, it is crucial to maintain focus on proactive actions that bring us closer to our goals.

To stay centered on progress rather than perfection, pay attention to moments of stagnation in your personal and spiritual development. Ask yourself, "How can I make progress towards my intention?”

Perfectionism can be a difficult habit to break, even when we are aware of the stress and turmoil it causes. These reflective questions are meant to help you delve into your own perfectionism, exploring its origins, purpose, and how to let go of self-criticism and embrace self-acceptance.

Use these questions as prompts for writing or journaling. Set aside a quiet, distraction-free time to engage in this exercise. Try using stream of consciousness writing, allowing yourself to freely express your thoughts and feelings without censoring or editing. The goal is to authentically explore your own experiences and insights.

Journaling prompt: What dreams feel unreachable? Are there small tasks I could try to achieve my dream?

Remember: Honoring the small victories and progress we make can help us move away from perfectionism and a narrow, binary view of success and failure. Each step we take, no matter how small, is worth celebrating and acknowledging. By recognizing and acknowledging our achievements, we can cultivate a progress mindset and shift our focus away from perfectionism.
So, if you completed a chapter of writing, applied to new jobs, or navigated a difficult conversation, take a moment to celebrate and recognize your progress. These small triumphs are significant and deserve to be celebrated.

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