Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Perfection is a question

Look around right now. Doesn’t matter if you’re at a desk or a Starbucks or floating on some driftwood in the Cuyahoga. Was your seat crafted well? The answer can be yes or no with many layers of detail. When you walk down the street, look at the lamp poles, look at the cars, look at the siding of buildings. Were these things made with care and pride, do they work the best they can work? Could they have been made better? Can you think of how to make them better?

Think about internal combustion, think about the computer-powered coordination of traffic lights. People worked on these things to achieve some level of perfection.

Naturally, I’m a very analytical person. I think about every topic, trying to think of every angle. I used to fear this was a problem. But, the mind should never be blank, always should be active, pressing forward your goals, a raging volcano of thought. Keep your mind active, constantly, every second of the day. Practice thinking about multiple things at once, that’s what I’ve learned. Keep the pace hot so that you’re mind is sharp. Use this momentum to think about the meaning of life, the universal human experience, the best route to work, how expensive that new toaster should really be. Pump blood and passion through your cortex.

What does this have to do with the pursuit of perfection? When I was depressed, I repressed this part of me, the part of me that has trust in my own thoughts, but is never afraid to question where they came from or where they’re going. If you feel fear creep in, don’t quash it immediately, understand where it’s coming from, analyze it, and know that there are always actions to be taken, always options. I would sit and be afraid that whatever I was writing or producing would not be competitive or good enough, and because I doted on it so much, I lost my confidence, and the work turned out badly. When you’re in a fragile state from high levels of fear, the failure serves as reinforcement.

But the correct way of thinking is that action and constantly, dilligently using your intelligence can defeat anything. Figure out what the problem is, use your head and your gut, and face it head on. When I write, I analyze what I’ve written, feel for what’s missing, ask if it’s well-crafted. Ask if it makes sense in context, ask if it’s exciting, will my readers feel it and understand it? Perfection is the pursuit of perfection. Of pride, of sharing your best with the world. Perfection is the question: "can I do better?"

I’m not afraid to ask AND answer all the questions zipping through my brain. And neither should you.

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