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The Biggest Obstacle to Success: Perfectionism

“Progress over Perfectionism”, my friend Siddharth once said. 

And I was like, “WOAH!”.

He said, “Yes, this is what has helped me overcome Procrastination“.

I could not agree more. 

Because, it is true. Perfection really IS the Biggest Obstacle to Success. 

You can also look at it as a big deceiver.

You think you are not doing the things which you want to, BECAUSE you are not “Perfect” yet. But the truth is you will never get Perfect until you start. Which means you do not have to be Perfect to Start. Rather, you have to start to be Perfect. 

Don’t you agree?

And that’ why you cannot afford to wait until you become Perfect to start.

That is NOT how the cycle works.

 

I really want to tell you once again, Perfection only comes from Practice.

From Starting. From Taking Action. From Analysing. From Researching and Acting on it Again.  

It is a chain and if I were to break it down into steps for you, it would look like this: Knowledge >  Execution > Inspection and Introspection > Optimization > Repetition > Mastery > Perfection > More Knowledge and so on

Allow me to break it down further for you. That was just a quick summary.

1. Knowledge

It all starts with Knowledge. You may consume it either in the form of Information from Books or the Internet (in the form of articles, videos and podcasts), a Course or Formal Education, to name a few. 

Once you consume the knowledge, remember – this is just the STARTING POINT and merely 10% of your work is done

Often, when we listen to or read a motivational or mind-blowing fact-filled podcast or article, we tend to feel good. We feel, like now that we know all the secrets, our lives are about to change.

But no!

That is just a temporary feel-good feeling.

Most people feel satisfied in this phase itself. And as they continue to listen or read to such content, they THINK they are making progress.

It is like, instead of actually running on the road which is taking you towards your goal, you are running on a treadmill – you may be putting in all the energy but you are not REALLY moving forward. 

You are in the same place!

And this is why Knowledge in itself in not enough.

2. Execution

Next comes, Execution.

The famous quote goes like, “Knowledge is Power”

But, I strongly believe, “Execution of Knowledge is True Power”

Because, by just knowing things – you are literally making no difference.

It is only when you sit down and put in the work – when you actually start building that website, when you begin to conduct your workshops, when you finally start working on your course – that is what makes the difference.

And slowly slowly, your small contributions compound together and when you look back – you realise. “Wow! This is what I have built.”

But that is NOT the best part.

The best part is that in the entire process of building up what you wanted to – you would have gotten stuck at multiple places. And in the short term you would have felt tired and thought of them as obstacles.

BUT

All those nights or early mornings, when you sat yourself down, researched on Google, reached out to the right people – and got yourself a solution, eventually you will realize – that obstacle was not an obstacle at all.

In fact, it was nothing but a catalyst to your growth!

And that’s why I reiterate once again. That the problems that come our way are not the obstacles to our success but catalysts to our own growth.

But you will only realise this in the long-term, in hindsight – when you look back.

That your Struggles just made you Stronger.

The fact that we sit and wait to get perfect, and in the name of Perfection simply Procrastinate – that is the real obstacle to success.

The sooner you understand this, the faster you will be able to reset your life and move forward at the speed you always wanted to but were never able to.

Coming back to telling you about how important the Execution Phase is, I want you to remember, that “50% of your learning and work actually belongs to this phase.”

Because as you would have figured it by now, it is in this phase that you work the hardest and for the same reason, end up learning the most!

Hence, there is no escaping this phase, ever!

3. Inspection, Introspection & Optimization

Let’s move to the next phases – Inspection and Introspection as well as Optimization.

Now out of the remaining 40%, 20% of your work and success comes in these 2 phases – combined!

Now say for example, you want to go from Bengaluru to Delhi. But instead of moving up North, you start going to the east, towards Kolkata. 

Even if you run at full speed, sacrifice the things you love and are at your highest efficiency, it will be a waste of your efforts and energy.

Of course, going off-track will unfold different experiences. If you can afford to NOT reach your goal, then it is fine. But most people cannot. Hence, that would NOT be the best way to proceed.

To avoid moving forward in the wrong direction, it is important that you often stop and think as you continue to proceed. 

  • Inspect – the results of the activities you are doing. These are the external results and factors you would want to measure. For ex: the costs, profits, no. of hours you are putting in, are you moving closer to your goal, etc.
  • Introspect – stop and ask yourself if what you are doing is making sense to you, can you build some skills to get better at it, is it making you happy, etc. Apart from getting clarity about whatever you are doing, this introspection will also help you actually face any kind of fears you may be facing but not addressing which would be leading to stress. When you address your fear or cause of worry, you will automatically find yourself more focused and relaxed.
  • Optimize – if you just realize and sit, it will not reap any benefits. What this means is that if you figure out what’s wrong, what could be better but don’t really put it back in action, it is like you going back to the beginning of the cycle – where you have knowledge, you are happy about it but you never implement it. To avoid that, it is important that all the mistakes you figure out and realizations that you have – you ensure you implement and include them in your current strategy to optimize in such a way that you are able to do all those things in a much better way.

4. Repetition. 

And the final 20% which makes all the difference comes from the most under-rated quality – Repetition. 

If you do something once and you do it right – yes it is a great achievement. Because you have finally moved from being just a passive listener to an active executor.

But, if you do it once and you STOP, it will never be enough. 

You will NEED to be CONSISTENT, you will NEED to do it OVER & OVER AGAIN – until you reach that level of expertise, that it STARTS coming NATURALLY to you.

Why it is important for whatever you do, to come naturally to you is because: 

Only then do you know that you have mastered a skill and can now focus on the next big thing. Otherwise, what is the point, right?

If you just achieve it once, but can never re-use the skill for your own benefit – it will make you feel so much more worse because you would have done it even once with a lot of hard work. And if you do not put it into use then it is going to pinch you – real hard!

Which one will you choose now?

So yes!

This is how you get your way around becoming Perfect.

To be very honest, when I think about it a little more, “Perfection in the actual sense is just a myth” and literally does not exist. Because, no matter what you do, there is ALWAYS going to be scope of Improvement.

Which is why what you CAN achieve is – Mastery.

That’s also why please DO NOT wait to become perfect to get started.

So remember the chain:

Knowledge >  Execution > Inspection and Introspection > Optimization > Repetition > Mastery > Perfection (This time I will remove Perfection) > More Knowledge and so on

And most importantly, do not let this article JUST make you FEEL GOOD – like you have learnt something new or understood something.

 Let it push you to take action. Even if it means that it takes you one mili-step closer to your dreams. 🙂

So remember “Choosing Progress over Perfectionism is the key to avoid Procrastination”

And try your best to take that First Step immediately after you finish reading this. 

Because, motivation is a little piece of shit. It does not last long. xP

Cheers!

P.S. Would love to know what you think about this article. Do comment below, yo. 😀

12 thoughts on “The Biggest Obstacle to Success: Perfectionism”

  1. So well written and there is so much to take away from this article!! ‘Perfection is a just a myth’ words we should live by to ACTUALLY make progress. Loved this Kamna! Excited to read more of your content ❤️

    Reply
  2. Loved the article and its flow. Loved the fact that it had actionable takeaways. Loved how you structured it. Can’t wait to read+learn more!

    Reply

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