[Applied Self-Confidence] Greatest Enemy Perfection

Perfection is the enemy of self-confidence. There is no more prominent a killer of people than their sense of having made an irreversible mistake. Businesses that fail to adapt, because they had once perfected a technique, will surely fail in the future. How do we prevent this? Part of it might be remembering that there is no perfect stick of gum, or perfect angle with which to affix that gum to a charming gum wall!

Perfection is a bizarre contradiction.

Perfection is both the idealized and unattainable goal. Perfection is what we are taught should be the norm, yet, we can never fully realize it. Perfection is the nightmare dressed up as a dream that haunts our best attempts at doing well in life.

To build, we must adapt to good enough.

If we wait for the perfect day to start, when all conditions are favorable, when we feel like it, and when we’re inspired, we will never actually start! There will always be an excuse. If not consciously, then subconsciously, we will self-sabotage.

Let’s consider exercise sets.

It’s better to get through 100-mediocre sets than one perfect set. I’ve had some great sets where I held a strong pace without burning myself out that had false starts. Do you restart to get in a perfect workout? Or do you just give it your best and try?

Next, consider the gum wall.

I had the idea to partially chew a stick of gum and affix it to the gum wall minutes before I tried it. It’s a whimsical idea. Nothing perfect about it. Why would there be any perfection involved? It’s merely a silly thing done in a silly place.

What purpose is the gum wall?

If not for aesthetics, then I’ll steal it and say its new purpose should be, if we walk through it on a trip to Seattle’s Pike Place Market or in our minds if we can’t visit, to remember the value of imperfection. There is no perfectly chewed gum.

That wall would not exist within perfectionism.

There is no functional purpose for the gum. It doesn’t bear enough structural dis-integrity to cause issue, however, other than a touristic attraction, the alley holds little value. It certainly isn’t even the perfect spot to represent everything about Seattle.

And yet, it captures our imagination.

Many people stop through for photographs or to place their own gum on the wall. It’s adding to a public collage. It’s fun. Most importantly, there are no rules to it. Stick a partially-chewed stick of gum there, fully-chewed, draw some graffiti, or post some art.

Doesn’t matter, because it’s just for fun.

Why can’t we adopt that attitude more? We left perfection control us and turn us into slaves of regret, self-annihilation, and the reason why we never can do anything, or worse yet, finish anything on time. “It’s not perfect.” “It’s almost there.” “Not yet.” “I need a little more time to decide.”

Just stick your imperfect gum on the wall!


Quotes: None
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I sat on the partially-written draft for a few days. Brainstorming around Seattle inspired the rest.
Related: Nothing in particular.
Above: My creative thinking.
Below: I returned after completing this essay. I unfortunately couldn’t find the partially-chewed stick of gum I had placed. I mostly dislike these sorts of visual hunting games.
Written On: May 14th, 21st
Last Edited: May 22nd

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.