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Posted by on April 17, 2015

When somebody makes something look easy, it’s because they’ve been doing it the hard way for years.  They’ve been doing a lot of practicing.

“The Hard Way” is defined as something you stayed at until it got easier.

I’m a recovering perfectionist.  That means if I’m not careful, everything I do is always “The Hard Way” because a true nitpicker won’t practice.  Too embarrassing.  When you practice anything you tend to mess up a lot.

Mistakes.  Errors.  Flubs.

To a true perfectionist those are like a wooden stake to The Count.  Or like being forced to tell the entire truth would be for Harry Reid.

Perfectionist1In my files I found a comparison between perfectionism and optimalism.  Perfectionism sees one’s journey as a straight line; has a fear of failure; focuses only on the destination; practices all-or-nothing thinking; is defensive, faultfinding, harsh, rigid and static.  Optimalism sees one’s journey as an irregular spiral – yeah; like a spring; sees failure as feedback; focuses on both journey and destination; practices nuanced, complex thinking; is open to suggestions; is a benefit-finder, forgiving, adaptable and dynamic.  I don’t know whom to thank for this, but it’s good.  A good working definition of optimalist thinking?  Think “optimist”.  It’s not exactly the same but it works for our purposes.

I had to learn some valuable things about being an optimalist and sticking to it – to keep going for ‘Expert’.

  • Nothing’s over until you stop trying.
  • Call it an experiment, NOT a failure.
  • Being regular or mediocre at anything is a choice.
  • It’s none of your business what others think of you.
  • Discipline is the bridge between dreams and accomplishment.
  • Once you accept your flaws, no one can use them against you.
  • You have to fight through some bad days and lackluster performances to become “Expert” and earn the best days of your life.

An “Expert” is somebody who’s failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  If you’re a true perfectionist, become a recovering one by quitting your habit of making excuses.  All that does is keep you irritated, unfulfilled and unhappy – mostly with yourself.  Perfectionism isn’t one of the fruits of the Spirit; JOY is.  Remember that.

Be adventuresome; make plenty of mistakes, because that’s a sign you’re trying to do something.  Learn a lesson from each one, fix what didn’t work that time, and keep going for ‘Expert’.

James Joyce once wrote that mistakes are the portals to discovery.  He was right.  A professional – an ‘Expert’, if you will – is an amateur who didn’t quit.

Think of life as a competition with yourself to become extraordinary.  It’ll keep you in a challenging, positive frame of mind.  Don’t make your day dreary and your companions disgusted by regrets.  If it’s good, it’s great!  If it’s bad, it’s experience.  Keep moving ahead for ‘Expert’.

One more thing.  Remember to weave God’s presence into your day.  As you unload, He downloads and reloads, often in areas you never realized were empty.

Can you do ‘Expert’ without God?  Probably.  But it’s a lot tougher and takes a lot more out of you – and it will at some point become apparent that it was really Him quietly, anonymously working around and sometimes through you while you took all the credit.

Experts at anything freely recognize everyone who helped them get where they are.  It’s okay to admit you’re struggling and ask for help.  Out of all those people you were always there for?  Someone, somewhere will be there for you.  God will see to it.

So therefore – leave space at the top of that list for God.  He’ll have done more in helping you get to ‘Expert’ than you may ever know.

Now, get out there and keep at it!

© D. Dean Boone, April 2015


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