It’s okay if it’s not perfect
Because you’re doing well enough
Few people would dream of a happy life and a successful life. Likewise, very few people live in anticipation of their failed self. At this time, the social atmosphere that encourages a successful life to come from endless effort and the pursuit of perfection makes us jump into endless competition. We are inspired by the success stories of various celebrities. Failure is usually accepted as the result of not putting in as much effort or finding the right way. We are impressed by the passion and endless efforts of successful people and we whip ourselves for not being more diligent or doing our best. In the process, you may achieve results that get close to your goal, such as employment or promotion. However, the trap that can only be left out at this time is that perfect life never exists, and satisfactory achievements do not exist for perfectionists. Even if you have achieved great socially recognized achievements or accumulated wealth, a happy life is like a mirage that you can never reach for a perfectionist who runs endlessly toward the next goal. For those of us of today who are endlessly distressed between unreachable goals and reality, Tal Ben Shahar, a pioneer in positive psychology at Harvard University and author of the book, says we should live an optimist life, not a perfectionist.
The optimal at this time does not mean that you do not do your best. It is a “positive perfectionism” that does its best to the extent possible. If we accept that “perfect success” or “perfect life” does not exist, and know that life is a winding road, not a straight highway, we can live a goal-oriented life and live a much happier life.
This book consists of vivid experiences of the author, who was a perfectionist, as well as examples of numerous celebrities, and various scientific and psychological theories and analyses. In addition, the happy training that follows at the end of each chapter helps readers practice their lives from perfectionist to optimist without difficulty.
Are you struggling with your perfectionist tendencies? Or do you think you’re far from a perfectionist, but are you scared before you start anything? Do you want to achieve a happier and more successful life together? Then it’s not too late. From the moment I meet this book, my journey away from the unhappy perfectionist and toward the happy optimist begins.
No one likes failure. However, it varies depending on whether you feel normal resistance to failure or extreme fear. The idea of not failing causes us to take the necessary precautions and work harder to succeed. On the other hand, extreme fear of failure often discourages the courage to take the risks necessary for growth. As a result, it is not only impossible to fully demonstrate its ability, but also causes problems with overall mental health.
First of all, it is important to understand that perfectionism and optimism are not very different from each other. No man can be a 100 percent perfectionist or a 100 percent optimist. Rather, we should put perfectionism and optimism on the same line and think about which side it tilts more.
Even if it’s not a celebrity story, we often hear the success stories of people who have overcome failures and achieved great or small achievements. Failure is not a sufficient condition for success. In other words, failure does not guarantee success. But without failure, there is certainly no success. People who understand that failure is closely related to achievement learn, grow, and eventually succeed. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.
Accepting emotions for some purpose doesn’t work. For example, accepting an emotion to do something better is called false acceptance. False acceptance does not help. It would have had no effect if I had thought that I should accept anxiety in order to lecture with a comfortable mind. Therefore, you should accept the feelings you feel without thinking about any wishes or hopes. To accept emotions, for example, is to admit that you are angry and that you may not feel better afterwards. The ability to truly accept emotions is at the heart of the difference between perfectionist and optimist.
Here, you should distinguish between ‘accepting’ and ‘reflecting’ painful emotions. To accept is to feel a certain emotion and stay quiet, and to reflect is to think about that emotion in a paranoid way. Reflecting on an emotion or event is unproductive and only reinforcing emotions. Reflecting is therefore part of the problem and not the solution.
No one can live a “perfect” life with only positive emotions. If you try to live a perfect life by rejecting painful emotions, the pain will only intensify. For the best life, we must be able to feel and express all the emotions that come to us.
Just as the law of gravity is part of physical nature, painful emotions are part of human nature. Nevertheless, most people accept and accept the law of gravity, but deny and reject painful emotions. In order to live a full and healthy life, we have to accept our emotions like other natural phenomena.
Likewise, we may dislike the feeling of ‘fear’, but we cannot evaluate the right or wrong of the feeling itself. Emotions only exist in themselves. However, depending on how you react to your emotions, the story changes.
Positive acceptance is to acknowledge the situation as it is and then choose the direction of action that you think is most appropriate. Just as we act fearfully and courageously, jealous yet benevolent, accept humanity and exercise humanity, we can choose how to act at every moment.
Whenever I fall into the trap of perfectionism and feel extreme fear and helplessness of failure, I think of the fact that my ability can improve, of course there are ups and downs in life, and I can do better if I try, as I often did in the past. Focusing on travel with a growth mindset reduces the burden. Also, the efficiency of work increases and you can enjoy working. We also try to show our children and students an example of a growth mindset.
We are afraid of not knowing. So desperately trying to figure out what happened last summer, last night, or prehistoric times. They wonder what will happen next week and what the world will be like 10 years from now or a thousand years from now. They want to pursue what is certain in the present and know the reality accurately. I fear not knowing more than bad news. Uncertain diagnoses often scare us more than definitely negative ones. The desire to know beyond simple curiosity is a deep-rooted existential desire of humans. Knowledge is power, ignorance is lethargy.