This weekend during a wonderful trip to Sedona, I was talking with my son Jeffery about his paintings in progress. He had done a lot of work on a number of canvases, but found finishing the paintings was difficult.
Starting a project is the fun part: imagining what you want to do, scoping it out, creating the big vision, and making the first moves. Once you get a lot of material drawn or written, however, it is easy to get paralyzed.
- What if it doesn’t turn out how you imagined?
- What if no one likes it?
- What if no one buys it?
- What if someone else does it better?
- What if you have been wasting your time and should have done something else?
When you get to this awkward, uncomfortable stage, I suggest you pick up Ramit’s phrase and start to repeat it: perfectionists are losers.
Losers, of course, in the sense that by maintaining an impossible standard of achievement, you deprive the world the satisfaction of experiencing your project or paper or book or picture.
And you deprive yourself the joy of completion.
Not everyone will love it. But for someone, it will be just the right thing, at the right time.
And if everyone hates it, including you, you get to recite a powerful and sacred mantra: Who cares?
So if you are sitting on a project waiting for a majestic wind to sweep in and motivate you to finish it, don’t hold your breath.
Just pick up your pen, or paintbrush, or keyboard and get cracking.
I am right with you.