Anything Worth Doing

As the title of this blog suggests, I do not have a great relationship with perfectionism.

Somehow, I have always thought that real perfectionists have their shit together. If you are one of these unicorns, your house is immaculate. Your mind is fraught but your drive for excellence always wins. You are fastidious and meticulous and as a result, everything you do is AWESOME. 

If this is you, congratulations. I salute you from the shadow of my towering (clean!) laundry mountain and the many things I am going to accomplish. 

My personal perfectionism feeds on all-or-nothing thinking and a mix of equal parts indecisiveness, shame, and delusions that I am special. It is familiar. It snuggles me when I am trying to get things of substance done.

Yesterday I was thinking about the quote: "Anything worth doing is worth doing well." It kind of pissed me off. So I drew.

It turns out I didn't get the quote quite right. Drat. The real one goes: "Anything worth doing is worth doing right." Apologies to Hunter S. Thompson both for the error and for thinking that this quote is bullshit.

Just to be sure my opinion wasn't wrong (there's that indecision!) I went a-googling. I was rewarded with a most satisfying article on the subject from Psychology Today. In it, Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., tells us about Joel Salatin, a podcasting farmer who posits that "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing poorly first." He explains that the kind of thinking exemplified in the original quote "stigmatizes us from innovating in our own lives. We're scared to death to try new things, because we think we have to get it right the first time." Dr. Pychyl goes on to explore–and champion–this subject from a psychological (and very accessible) perspective. Writes Pychyl: "When we learn to see that it is through admitting our ignorance and trying even though it won't be perfect or even "right" the first time, we really start living."

That is an outlook I can snuggle.