We’re kinda on a roll with our Fire Walk to our ultimate potential so I say let’s keep going.
But first, it’s important to make this (very!) important point: You know that metaphorical wall that represents your ultimate potential? The one on the other side of all those burning hot pain-coals?
Well, hate to break it to you but… YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO ACTUALLY REACH IT.
Not Today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after that.
That’s just how it is.
If the wall was represented as a curve, it would be asymptotic. We might APPROACH our absolute best but we’ll never actually reach it. (Cue Carl Rogers who tells us: “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”)
KNOWING that is actually a REALLY effective “coping mechanism.”
Because you know what can happen when we forget the fact that we’ll never actually BE that perfectly expressed Optimus-best version of ourselves?!
We become unhealthy perfectionists and we drive ourselves crazy. (Laughing.) (← That’s the DSM-5 technical description of our neurosis, of course.)
Recall Tal Ben-Shahar’s wisdom that there are actually two different types of perfectionism—a healthy version and an unhealthy version.
We want to hold REALLY high standards.
AND… (Super important “AND!”)
We want to remember that we’re never going to be perfect.
As Tal says in The Pursuit of Perfect: “If the only dream we have is of a perfect life, we are doomed to disappointment since such dreams simply cannot come true in the real world.”
And… “The notion that we can enjoy unlimited success or live without emotional pain and failure may be an inspiring ideal, but it is not a principle by which to lead one’s life, since in the long run it leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.”
As we discuss in Conquering Perfectionism 101, we want to become an incremental “Optimalist” who embraces the constraints of reality.
How’s your relationship to “perfectionism”?
Here’s to embracing the constraints of reality as we hold high standards and go for it while KNOWING that we’ll never actually “get there”—reminding ourselves that our ideals are “GUIDING STARS” not “distant shores.”
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