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Humans posses two unfortunate qualities: the need to impress others and the need to be perfect.
All too often this leads us in the wrong direction.
Our need to impress others sends us on an endless hunt for a bigger house, a faster car, a more expensive handbag, a snazzier suit…and more stuff in general.
It doesn’t matter that this stuff may not actually be important to us – we may not even want it.
All that matters is that we’re impressing others.
And if we’re impressing others, we must be successful, right?
On the other hand, our tendency to embrace perfectionism presents another and even bigger problem. When we are not living for ourselves but living the lives we believe others want for us, we put all our perfectionist tendencies toward producing something meaningless.
Since we are creating things for others, we are inherently not doing our best work. We’re robbing the world of what could be.
Two things need to change:
First, we need to start living for ourselves.
We need to start entrusting ourselves with the power to go after the dreams we want, not what others want us to want. This will be difficult at first and will take years, if not decades of practice since the habit of impressing others has been instilled on us since birth.
Second, we have to give up our desire for perfection and admit that there is no such thing as perfect.
Too many people have such a need for perfectionism they just give up altogether. Instead of doing their best work, work that will make a difference, they are afraid it won’t be good enough. So they do meaningless, mediocre work instead.
But this is no way to live. We don’t need more mediocre work. We need more exceptional work.
We have to realize that perfect is something defined by others and if we only strive to be perfect, we will:
a. Not be living true to ourselves
b. Not create anything worthwhile
Ask yourself: are you living the life you want? Is your life, as you see it, a success? Or are you allowing others to define your life for you? Dig deep for this one. Let it sit for a while. It’s not an easy question to answer.
After you’ve thought about it for a while, if the answer is no, here’s a second question: what are you going to do about it?
Success comes from within. If you can’t accept that, you need to redefine your definition of success.
How are you going to start?