Perfection is a trap.
One of my favorite blogs is called Zen Habits written by a man named Leo Babauta. Don't let the name scare you if you're a Christian. Leo is one of the wisest guys I've come across and he talks a lot about habit change. Here's an article that I've been thinking a lot about as I've considered changes in my life. It basically talks about selecting one change and starting with a step so small that you can't NOT do it. One small thing. I wonder what it would be like to take something on in such a simple way. As I think of it, it almost seems impossible to me. All the frightened animals are fighting for my attention. My desire for perfection almost paralyzes me before I even begin. Isn't it funny that something simple seems impossible?
Here's what Anne Lamott has to say about perfectionism in the area of writing:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”
I think she may be right. I've posted this in the sidebar of my blog to remind me that I don't have to be perfect or cramped and insane. So the first step in choosing change will be to practice letting go of the need for perfection. I'm going to be spending a lot of time calming the wild-eyed animals, speaking in a quiet voice, petting them gently until they relax enough to retract their claws. Then I'm going to look around for the one that seems to need the most loving attention. That's where I'll begin. I'll let you know what I choose to focus on when my lovely beasts settle down a bit.
How about you? Does perfectionism get in your way when you think about change? What small step would open up the possibility for something new in your life?