Perfectionism Is An Insidious Demon…

Perfectionism Is An Insidious Demon…

Perfectionism is an insidious demon that must be fought with every weapon you’ve got.

Here’s what’s so tricky about perfectionism: it turns procrastination into a virtue.

Because it’s good to have high standards, right?

And it’s good to expect the best from your self, right?

We want to make things that are beautiful, extraordinary, unique…

And then you crumble under the pressure you’ve put on yourself and never create anything at all. But it’s not your fault – it’s your damn high standards.

The other problem with perfectionism is that it keeps you from noticing the great things that you create effortlessly.

By keeping your focus on that which is hard, unattainable or impossible to execute, you fail to give yourself credit for that which is easy and fun.

While you’re busy struggling with the idea that you need to be some great painter (all the while NOT painting), you might miss out on a brilliant career as a caricaturist. Your frustrated desire to write the perfect novel can prevent you from seeing your potential as a lyricist.

This is the worst kind of snobbery.

Disdaining your own gifts is as cruel as disdaining your own children.

Remember:  The World Needs Your Art.

You’re Just Never Satisfied, Are You?

You’re Just Never Satisfied, Are You?

Almost Perfect, Except For Just This One Thing… by samanthabennett222
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See more Words To Live By T-Shirts   “>Just A Little Divine Dissatisfaction


You’re never satisfied, are you?

Even when something is great, you are always thinking that it could be just a skotch better.

You are always revising.

Your whole life is brief, fleeting moments of satisfaction that only serve to punctuate the endless wash of “if only.”

The grass is not only greener on the other side, it is richer, thinner and better-looking as well.

You just can’t leave well enough alone, can you?

Guess what:  nobody can.

Human beings are especially designed to be dissatisfied.  We are in a near constant state of dissatisfaction.  Dissatisfaction is what we do best.  Our brains are constructed to be always ticking along, thinking, “How could this be better?”

And, perhaps more importantly, “How can I be better?”

We are always seeing something that isn’t there and wishing that it was.  And artists are more dissatisfied than anyone else.

Artists are better than anyone at seeing a new solution, a new means of expression, a new version of perfection.  Artists specialize in seeing what’s not there.  Out of nothing, artists create something.

This nothing-into-something business is what people talk about when they talk about miracles, and artists do that sort of miracle more often than most.  Of course, mothers and fathers do it, too – that’s why we call it the “miracle” of birth.

Talk about nothing into something: first there was nothing and now there’s a whole new person in the world!  And good cooks do it, naturally.  And gardeners.  And children do it constantly.

So this chronic dissatisfaction you are feeling is not a bad thing.  It is Divine Dissatisfaction.  It is the restless spirit of creativity calling you to action.  You are being called to create.  You are being called to reveal the miracle within you.

So, next time you feel like you are an empty well under a clear blue sky, remember: There’s Nothing Wrong With A Little Divine Dissatisfaction.

What are you divinely dissatisfied with today?  And what do you think you might do about that?

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Every Field Must Lay Fallow

Every Field Must Lay Fallow

Maybe you are in the middle of a dry spell so severe your lips are parched.

I’m sorry. I know that feeling — that sinking, empty, aching feeling — and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

But I know that eventually it will end. And you will live through it. I’m sorry I can’t say how long “eventually” will be, but I do know that you will get your mojo back.

You are an artist.

And sometimes artists endure extended periods during which it seems as if nothing’s happening.

It ’s called acedia, meaning “spiritual torpor and apathy; ennui” or “anomie in societies or individuals, a condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack of purpose or ideals.”

And it doesn’t mean you’re dead inside.

It just means that you’ve temporarily lost the ability to feel joy in your work. Which is sad.

But if you accept this dry spell as a stage in the artistic process, feeling fully confident that no one and nothing can ever take away your identity as an artist (after all, they haven’t been able to make it go away yet, have they?), you just might survive.

Maybe this is the time to pursue some of those other things you always say you want to do. Volunteer more. Have lunch with friends.

Take a temporary job in a field that ’s of interest to you. Spend more time with children. Read all those books you’ve got piled up. Plan a trip. Sit on the couch with the television off.

Whatever happens, don’t give up on yourself.

Eventually you will get a little tickle. An idea will whisper to you. You’ll catch yourself thinking, “I wonder if . . .” and you’ll be off to the races again, productive, happy, and rejoicing in the renewal of your vibrant, creative voice.



Dear God,

I have made a piece that everyone loves, but God, I don’t think it’s very good.

I know, it’s a weird problem to have.

The thing is, it’s not my best work. I feel uncomfortable being praised for
work I’m not that proud of. It’s hard enough receiving compliments I think I
do deserve, much less ones I know I don’t.

Oh. Wait.

I just remembered that I am not responsible for other people’s experiences
of my work.

I am only responsible for creating and curating my work.

And all of my work is made in praise of You.

So how can that ever be “less than?”

God, help me get over my own snobbishness, ego and false modesty. Help
me to feel the love that others are sharing with me.

Help me work and live always from the center of a joyful, humble heart.

Your heart.


Don’t Be Afraid to Get a C

Don’t Be Afraid to Get a C

Some years ago I was suffering from some fairly extreme anxiety.

One of the ways the anxiety manifested was that I felt like I was being constantly graded.

During every meal I cooked, every parallel-parking job, every audition, every everything, I felt like someone, somewhere, was monitoring my every move and keeping track in a big notebook about how well or, more often, how poorly I was executing my life.


So I decided that if I could not disabuse myself of the idea that I was being graded, then I would just try to get a C — which is the grade you get for showing up and doing the work.

Not doing the work better than everyone else, not doing extra-credit work — just showing up and doing the work.

I was quite pleased with this idea, and I shared it with my sister during one of our almost-daily phone conversations. She agreed that it sounded like a jim-dandy strategy and wished me luck with it.

Then we went on to discuss the real topic of our conversation that day: our father had moved into a new apartment and we wanted to send him a housewarming gift. I said I would take care of it.

A day or two later we were on the phone again and she asked me if I’d sent anything to Dad yet.

“Well, no,” I explained, “because I want to get him something nice but still within our budget, and I was thinking about something for his kitchen although he already has quite a bit of kitchen stuff so maybe there ’s a better idea if we do some sheets or maybe towels, maybe monogrammed, or —”

“Sam!” my sister interrupted. “Get a C — send a plant.”

Ah, the pure ring of truth!

Ten minutes later I had spent less than fifty bucks at an online flower delivery website for a handsome dieffenbachia plant, and the next day my father called both of us to say thank you and to tell us how lucky he felt to have such thoughtful daughters.

Here’s the point: my desire to find the perfect thing for my father was preventing me from finding anything for my father.

My willingness to take the budget-friendly, obvious option (a houseplant) allowed me to do what we really wanted to do to begin with, which was just let our dad know that we loved him and hoped he was happy in his new digs.

There are two more reasons you can afford to get a C.

One, your version of a C is probably everybody else ’s version of an A.

Two, if you get your work out there and then find that it needs to be made more perfect, well, then, you’ll improve it, right?

That’s how you roll.

How is your desire to do the perfect thing getting in the way of your doing anything?