We creative people often seem that “perfectionism” just affects us. Us who see the picture of the thing that we build right in front of us, but as I became older I have realized that it’s not just creative people who work towards perfectionism — it affects all of us. Creative people are just more expressive with their thoughts. They create pictures and music, folks can look at or hear. In this context I’d like to cite Kevin Flynn, from the Movie Tron: Legacy here:
And I think that quote hits the nail on the head. Of course we are always working towards the perfect. That’s the thing that keeps us going. That’s not the problem. The problem is that perfectionism gets in the way, in the way of getting things done. As Sheryl Sandberg once said:
“Done is better than perfect.”
The Question Is: How Do We Start?
It’s not so easy though, is it? When we start to work on a new video, ideas pop up for this new project all over the place. We could do this and that, and let’s not forget about that small thing that we could do too. A small idea quickly gets so many arms, turns, and knobs to twiddle that the once so “small idea” grows into an insanely huge project. With it grows the intimidation ever being able to finish it. But also the question: how do we start?
Then a smart person says: “Let’s focus! Let’s focus on the important parts, and forget about the rest!” But then you read that article which suggests the “10 things you should not forget in your next project”, and you start to think: “Oh, those aspects are really important. Let’s not forget about these things in this project. Today is the day, we’ll change how we do projects forever!”
Those glorious ideas get attached to the insanely huge thing with the many arms, and turns, and knobs from before, somewhere. Somewhere where they seem to fit, and the thing gets even bigger and more complicated. Projects have their own Hype Cycle. The Trough of Disillusionment is where things get tough, because at this point you need someone who sees things clearly. Someone who is able to distinguish what’s needed, and what’s not. Someone who focuses on progress, rather than perfection.
“When we focus on perfection, we will be forever frustrated. When we focus on progress, we feel invigorated.” ~Jeff Shore
It’s Always Work!
Some other smart people said: “Just let it go! Don’t worry about the outcome. Just do your job as best as you can.” To do the best job for our clients, we don’t “just”. Things are never just. You never “just” make a great video. It’s always work!
Work always means pushing. Overcoming the perfectionism trap and just keep pushing. Being able to be crazy enough to believe that you can make it perfect, while, at the same time you know exactly about its impossibility. Perfection is impossible. But if you’re crazy enough to think that you can reach your goals, that’s what gets you going, and it is what keeps you moving.
What am I doing to keep the perfectionist inside me at bay? Over the years I have created a couple of techniques to work with my own perfectionism. I’m sure you’ll find some nuggest in my advice too.
Read more about handling perfectionism, I will let you know more about the techniques I mentioned before.