First things first, check out the new header! It’s designed by Johan Krijl, a very talented and experienced graphic designer. I gave him only a few ideas of what I had in mind in terms of header design, and he created this fantastic header. He really translated my wishes into a great design. Thank you Johan :-) .
Secondly, Happy New Year everybody! May 2015 be a happy, healthy, loving and aspirational year for you!
As I’m hearing a lot of New Year’s resolutions, ranging from getting a new job, buying a bigger house, quitting smoking (I’m looking at you, you know who you are! ;-) ) or losing weight, I can’t help but think about my own New Year’s resolution. So I’ve decided that this year, I want to become better at failing.
Now I do realise how this may sound, but bare with me. You see, I’m a perfectionist, always have been, always will be. There are some good aspects of that character trait. Every creative person knows “love is in the details” and perfectionists excel in that regard. I also tend to overdo preparations when I’m nervous doing something, like a job interview or a presentation. In turn, it gives me confidence, something to hold onto and it helps to make a good first impression. I remember the time my partner and I were renovating our house and I was scared spending this much money on a new kitchen. When it was time to visit the kitchen dealer, I came prepared with a drawn layout, a moodboard of what I wanted and images of material options. I also made a detailed excel sheet of pricings of every fixture possible of their competitors so I could compare. The kitchen dealer thought at first I was an undercover competitor doing research and doing a bad job at being undercover. I’m not quite sure yet how this specific aspect of perfectionism is going to be an advantage in my future life :-) , but it was… interesting. I’ll let you know!
There are also some negative aspects to being a perfectionist. Every family member of a perfectionist can tell you that he/she can be a royal pain in the ass when anxious, and alas, I’m no exception in that regard. If the kitchen story wasn’t clue enough that I can also be exhausting at times, you should really ask my father ;-) . Another bad aspect is that you can become so overly perfectionist that you no longer try anything new in fear of failing. When a new situation arises, perfectionists always want to be assured beforehand every condition is going to be perfect before venturing forth. That there is absolutely no chance of failing. It’s that all-or-nothing mentality that causes us to overthink issues and procrastinate. Perfectionism in its most negative form, can be extremely paralizing. The great irony is that the perfectionism that pushes us to succeed, ends up being the same sabotager of that success.
Another more lighthearted way of looking at perfectionists is to imagine them as slightly spoiled brats. Now if you’re a perfectionist reading this, and feel offended, let me tell you that you shouldn’t hold it against me because I self-identified as a perfectionist. Sort of. Is it working? Anway, perfectionists in some regards really act as spoiled brats sometimes. Honestly, we’re really good at organizing the greatest self-pity party with the world’s smallest violin playing “The Nitpicking Concerto no 4″. Sometimes I think perfectionists just had the wrong teacher in kindergarten that said “you’re really good at that” instead of “you’ve worked really hard for that”. Just because you were born with a few natural talents doesn’t mean you don’t need to work for it like every other person does. Jeez, who died and made you a modern day Renaissance woman? Talent is overrated anyway. Now I’m not trying to deter from the lighthearted tone of this paragraph, but to be real, the graveyard is filled with talented people with broken dreams. Many successful people will tell you, that they are not nearly as talented as some of their competitors, but they managed to excel and outdo them with sheer determination and unwavering focus. To sum it up and quote Britney, “you better work b***h!” ;-) .
As a child I used to pray for courage. Like I would wake up one day and by magical reasons unknown to mankind I would feel courageous enough to do the things I was dreading. I imagined snapping my fingers, the heaven would open up, angels would be singing hallelujah and an angel would come flying down to present me with The Gift of Courage. Courage, not unlike discipline, doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to snap your fingers and order it. You do it and in doing so you build and internalize courage. You can only truly be courageous, if you do something despite of being scared. Bertrand Russel said: “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt”. Now I’m really not trying to give myself a compliment in a sneaky way, I’m just trying to say that sometimes you need to stop overthinking things, realise that absolute control is a self-appeasing illusion and just dive in.
When you’re a perfectionist and having a particularly bad and stressful day, every failure, even the tiniest one, can be a confirmation of what you secretly already “knew”: that it’s going to be a failure. And even if it is, so what?! You need to fail sometimes in order to succeed. An obvious message, I know, but like most people we are governed more by emotions than logic than we like to admit. Stephen McCranie said “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried”. So that’s what I, in the best way possible of course, wish for you. Perfectionist or not. That you become better at failing and end up succeeding gloriously even more. That’s also what I want to experience with this blog; learning new things in the hopes of pleasantly surprising myself. I’m sure I will fail sometimes. And that’s okay too. It took me a long time but I’m starting to learn that.
I’d like to end this post with a quote by writer Neil Gaiman:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Source image: http://instagram.com/northstarballoons