The Poison of Perfectionism

I know what it’s like to feel creatively blocked. Most people do.

One of the biggest blocks we face is perfectionism. Perfectionism is a massive creativity clogger.

We might spend too long on a certain project because it has to be perfect. We don’t allow ourselves to move on until we’re satisfied, and we’re never satisfied. We hold on long after the passion is gone. We let other juicy ideas wither because we can’t give them the attention they need.It’s like neglecting your other children in your quest to be the perfect parent to your first.

We might find that creating isn’t fun anymore. We often doubt our abilities and the value of our ideas because we can’t express them perfectly. We might give up too soon or not start at all because we figure, what’s the point if I can’t do it perfectly?

This is a lie we tell ourselves, that our creations must be perfect to be valuable. I struggled with this one for a long time, in many areas of my life.

How do we let go?

Focus on the passion. Realize that the value is in the process. Seek truth rather than perfection.

My art isn’t perfect. My writing isn’t perfect. Nothing I make is perfect, but at least I’m making stuff. I didn’t use to. Making lots of great-but-not-perfect stuff is better than making nothing at all. Trying and failing is better than not trying.

Let go of perfectionism. Realize that perfection is a subjective term, and what’s the value of perfection anyway, at least in a creative sense. Let your creativity express itself honestly, and the result will be more valuable for it.


Posted on February 29, 2012, in Creativity, Fear and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Such an important message! You can’t succeed if you don’t try. Perfectionism is paralyzing! Another great post.

  2. Thanks- I’m really struggling to draw anything anymore- I’m so worried about making a mess of it that I don’t do anything. Nice to have that reminder just to enjoy.

  1. Pingback: The Ten Commandments of Perfectionism « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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