…I hate to say it, but in these kinds of conversations, usually I’m Milan. Renar is frequently played by a very patient Cory. (Sometimes Renar is also played by me, but then I get into arguments with myself.)
One of the reminders I have on my Inspiration/Mental Health board is “I can do Anything, but not Everything.” Which is hard for the perfectionist in me (who stubbornly refuses to be quelled despite my best efforts) to accept. Perfectionism demands that all efforts go from 0 to 100% overnight. I must do EVERYTHING and I must do it NOW or else I have failed. Slow progress isn’t a sign of success, it’s a lack of perfection.
We are but mortals.
Progress is a series of steps, punctuated by the stumbling blocks of necessary mistakes, that over time lead to improved skills and a stronger sense of mastery.
Unless you’re aiming for perfection. Perfection says that mistakes are failures, “improvement” is another word for “not good enough,” and mastery should be the starting point (which should also be one’s end point…because somehow those are supposed to happen simultaneously). Practice is not perfect, says Perfectionism. If you can’t do it right the first try, you shouldn’t attempt it at all.
Perfectionism is a lying jerk. Or a really, really insecure portion of my brain that fears inadequacy so much it would rather induce that feeling preemptively than have to possibly live it in real-time.
…Probably it is both of those things. Or even more things on top of that.
Regardless of where it comes from, Dr. Milan (and also me) would probably benefit from detaching the definition of failure from the demands of perfectionism. We are but mortals. We’re going to get better as we keep trying new things and learning in the process. That’s how learning works.
What’s your approach to learning? What else is important to keep in mind about the learning process?