Our Obsession with Perfection

Friday, September 19, 2014

Midweek, my MacBook Pro suddenly didn't start up and I freaked out. I had a test on Thursday and papers due the next couple of days so I needed a computer. I had bought a Mac in part because people said that Macs were more reliable and less prone to malware than PCs but even then, Macs aren't perfect. They can break and while I'm happy I was about to fix the problem myself, I'm reminded that I need to let go of the idea of perfection.

As a blogger, it's easy to get caught up in the numbers. You got  mid-hundred hits on a blog post but only got around 100 hits on the latest one? You made a mistake. You're supposed to create things, things that get hits, get attention, right? Wrong.

As a human, it's easy to get caught up in the next big thing. You want the A on the test, you want the cute boy, you want the raise, you want the job, you want the 2.5 kids with the white picket fence and a dog but what happens when you don't get something? Are you less of a person? Are you somehow a failure? No, you're not. 

If machines still make mistakes, why can't humans make mistakes? Machines are fallible and so are we.  Failure isn't defined by what you don't have or haven't achieved, it's defined by not realizing your mistakes and learning from them. Sure, you might not have gotten a raise but you knew that you were doing good work. You put yourself out there. That's courage right there.  Heartbreak hurts, but even then, you learn, grow and rediscover yourself. What society defines as "failures" are the things that we grow from. I wouldn't be half the person that I am today without making mistakes.

Blogging isn't defined by numbers. It's about the stuff that you put out-- did you try your best on it? Does it reflect who you are? Is this something that you would want to read? You're not made up of constant viral hits, one after another, like a hamster that can't stop running on a wheel. Can you imagine how terribly boring and tiring that would be? You'll break down.

It's okay to have a day off, to watch Netflix while eating chocolate and wearing pajamas, even when it's not bedtime. It's also okay to be a workaholic. Just know that it's okay to fail, to fall on your face. What's important is that you brush yourself off and get back up. It's okay if you stumble a bit. I know that I've stumbled quite a bit. But I am still going forward and that's what matters.

Give yourself a break, if you need one. Have goals, not always reachable goals. Strive for things but remember that it's okay to be rejected, to not get what you want, too. We're all flawed and it's okay. The truth is, mistakes are just as important as successes.

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