Life is not a game of Perfect…..but it sure is fun trying………
Why do we think we’re supposed to be great at something right off the bat? And when we’re not great at this thing, why do we become so exasperated? This frustration when learning new things often causes many of us to quit the thing & walk away feeling like a failure. To illustrate how silly this behavior is let’s apply it to a couple of things most of us have done for a long time.
Let’s take eating for example. As a species, we have a very long history of eating. As individuals, eating is one of the things we’ve done longest in our lives. Yet some of us still choke and die while eating. Does this mean we need to stamp out the menace that is food? Does this mean we are bad eaters? Of course not. If you choke on your food — and don’t die — it just means that you need to be a bit more focused on what you’re doing.
Let’s take walking as another example. Most of us have done it for most of our lives but will, on occasion, still stumble over a crack in the sidewalk. If we’re really not paying attention sometimes we even stumble over absolutely nothing at all.
You would presume someone crazy if, after stumbling over a crack in the sidewalk, they burst into tears, sobbing, “I’m such a horrible walker! I should just quit!” Yet we exhibit this type of behavior. So I remind myself that I’m not perfect and, more importantly, I never will be. I mean, I’ve spent 99.5% of my life walking yet I still stumble on occasion.
Hold on — let me tweak that last sentence a bit:
I’ve spent 99.5% of my life practicing walking yet I still stumble on occasion.
It’s a lot more realistic to say that I practice walking. I’ll never do it perfectly, right? So I’m always just practicing it. And since there’s nothing (absolutely nothing!) I’ll ever do perfectly 100% of the time that means everything I do is just practice.
I practice being nice to people. I practice being on time for work. I practice saving money. All these things are things I’m not perfect at doing — in fact some of them I’m quite bad at. However, because I continue to practice, I get better at them over time. And when I remember that everything is just practice the result is that I don’t view myself as a failure when the things I do don’t get me the results I hoped they would. And because I haven’t failed it’s easier to pick myself up, dust myself off, and practice some more.
Looking at life from this slightly shifted perspective affords me an opportunity to be more patient with myself and, in turn, more patient with others. They’re just practicing, too, right?
So far I’ve yet to be able to remember this all the way through a morning rush hour. I’ll let you know when I can do that… but I need some more practice.