Humans are notoriously terrible at making decisions. We constantly make bad choices due to a variety of factors — emotions, perceptions, fear. In modern society, an issue that hamstrings our decision-making even further is our preoccupation with perfection.
Obsessing over perfection is the obverse of procrastination. When procrastinating, we directly avoid the thing we don’t want to do, that we fear, that we don’t understand. Perfectionism uses preoccupation with getting things perfect as the avoidance technique. “It can’t be ‘perfect’ so why try?”
We see so many versions of edited, staged, filtered, and manufactured perfection, that we’ve come to view our own beautiful, human realities as flawed, incomplete, and inferior. We see thousands of clearly contrived images every day, and while most of us conceptually understand they’re not real, those images still heavily influence our concept of reality. This filter bias clouds our view of others realities and of our own — we elevate our interpretation of the quality of some people’s lives while undervaluing ours. The constant stream of perfect-everything creates ambivalence and inertia — a “why bother” or an “all or nothing” attitude —making it difficult to act and make decisions. Instead of making the manageable and incremental changes that will improve our lives, we mistakenly perceive gradual shifts as worthless, and don’t do anything.
Breaking out of that “why bother” mind-set is challenging. But we can move ourselves out of it, one calculated and achievable action at a time.
Don’t wait for the ideal opportunity or the right time.
Take action. Then act again. And again.
Sometimes those subsequent steps will be partial or complete corrections of the first, but that’s okay. The benefit of acting in the first place outweighs the drawback of an unideal choice — because the reality is, we ALWAYS err, so better to make calculated decisions quickly and be open to adjusting your plan.
Don’t pine for perfection, it’s an illusion that will never come. Instead, learn to make life as fulfilling, honest, and authentically yours as possible.