The Imperfectionist

I admit. I'm a perfectionist. Sometimes I feel like I belong to some anonymous group of people who are skillful non-producers. I've heard that less knowledge means more, in the sense that the less you know, the less you can get in your own way. Ultimately that's just an excuse, and excuses are not going to help me become more productive.

Being a perfectionist basically means that you don't get things done. I should know, I've been this way ever since high school, at least that's where I first noticed it. And this "perfectionistic" characteristic creeped it's ugly head here and there, especially in the past 10 years. Guess I didn't get rid of all my inhibitive qualities after all those 10 day meditations I sat through.

Being a perfectionist has its roots with insecurity, and maybe some fear of not being accepted as you are. This was something I had to take a look at, regarding my own tendency to procrastinate (procrastination being a symptom). I finally realized it was because I didn't want to put out junk, or inferior work, BECAUSE I didn't want to be judged by that work.

The truth is, we're going to be judged by what we do anyway, so we might as well be judged by our production rather than our lack of it. Even if what we produce is garbage, it's better than putting out absolutely nothing.

But the great news for all of us non-productive perfectionists, is that producing something is a skill, not a characteristic. And skills can be improved. If we can just switch the whole thing around from being a non-producing perfectionist things will dramatically change for us.

The key is to be a productive imperfectionist.

Productive Imperfection

The idea is simple. You know you have great ideas, and you've been sitting on them for awhile. Ok, for a long while, but now you're ready to make moves. You've had enough. The idea here is to just produce something. Anything. In my experience, producing ANYTHING is better than NOTHING. Every time.

You ever notice how the software industry gets this right? They produce a beta version of software first, then go through versions 1.0.1, 1.0.2, etc. They keep improving their product. This works with the service industry as well. It works for any industry because it works for any individual.

The idea that we're going to produce our very best the first time out is just flat out IRRATIONAL. And even holding onto the belief that we are to be mistake-free in our lives will cost us, in many ways. Without risk there is no growth. Can't be. Nope.

So just start. Move. Don't think about it. Write, produce, talk to people or whatever the action is. Take action, not re-action. Doing the same thing you've done before, either because of habit or fear, is no way to live. I am speaking from experience. I know what this "getting it right the first time" mentality has personally cost me. The ultimate cost being time. Not going to get lost time back. EVER.

Speed!

Do what you need to do FAST. Do it as fast as humanly possible. Don't hesitate, it will cost you in momentum. And momentum is a crucial concept. You want momentum on your side, going in the direction you want.

So do it NOW. The decision to act means doing it right NOW, or at the very least as soon as you can implement something, anything. Waiting is perfection. Perfection is stagnation. No more waiting.

I'm assuming you're clear on what you want to produce. If not, that's another topic for another time. For now, introduce a little speed into your work. Get something done, mistakes and all. Just get it down, fix it later...

Fix It Later

Fixing it later, taking it from beta to market, version 1.0.1 to version 1.0.2, is how to get things done and keep your sanity. Knowing that anything can be improved, and I mean ANYTHING, will help you get over your fear of rejection (or whatever it is that's holding you back).

So ACT, PRODUCE SOMETHING, KEEP IMPROVING IT. It's a simple formula for all the people (like me) who get stuck on the most trivial things. And remember, you don't have to do it alone...

Get Help

The world is smaller. People you never would have been able to mix and mingle with are an email away. People who can help you produce whatever it is you want to create.

Get help. It's ok to ask. Your results have a higher probability of turning out better, and you will have made a new friend (hopefully). You may have to keep looking, but relationships work the same way. You may have to try some before meeting the right people that can help.

But either way, you will have to get out there, make your mistakes, and correct them as you go along if you are to become productive. Being a productive imperfectionist may seem unappealing to you, but in the end, it is the right strategy to implement. And it can be done right now.

So what are you waiting for?? Start where you are, and produce something. ANYTHING.


Meditation

Meditation, next to birth, was probably the most profound experience I have ever had. Sitting on your a$$ for 10 days, without reading, writing, watching TV, talking on the phone, or any other kind of stimulation has TRANSFORMED my life...

I must admit, going into it, thinking about doing it scared the crap out of me, but I knew I had to do it. So what the heck?

Now, when I talk about meditation, I am speaking of a certain kind. It's called Vipassana. From the Pali language it means to "see things as they are." Who wouldn't want to see things as they really are?

This was the meditation the Buddha actually taught to those who said they could "handle the truth". And I suppose everyone that came to him said they could, but when it came down to it, only a few could sit with themselves long enough to go there.

Imagine these poor people after being told they'd have to sit for months to get to some enlightenment. Ouch. From my own experience, I would imagine most came away complaining, whimpering about sitting too long, the diet associated with it, the total chaos of emotions that arise, and the nagging mind bugging you to get up and stretch or go for a walk when things get tough.

1999: A rebirth

Rewind to 1999. I learned that I would have to meditate for 10 entire days (not 3 or 6 months), and I was questioning my own manhood. "Ten whole days?! You mean I can't read at all? No writing? No exercise? From 4 am to 9 pm? I can't eat past 5 pm either? What about snacks??"

I guess you can imagine my difficulty. It's not the "normal" lifestyle, in fact, it's very strict. I don't want to get into too much detail of the meditation, because you can get all that info here: www.dhamma.org

As for my experience, I'd say those first 3 days were like being in hell. I can't imagine a time when I was soooo angry for absolutely no reason. Despite all my anger and aggression for those first few days, that was nothing compared to the next three. I swear it felt like torture during meditation, but I noticed the difference when I was out of the meditations.

When I was out of the meditations, I started to feel lighter. Not only that, but my senses were more heightened. I could feel everything more deeply, whether it was a cool draft, the hair on my nose, or the food I was eating, there was a difference in experiencing. Ok, this is good, I thought, let's keep going deeper.

Deeper

As I went deeper, I started to relive memories of things I hadn't thought of in years. Experiences that I had that I totally forgot about resurfaced, and I found some of them quite disturbing, and many of them very enjoyable. So the past made its way in, and as I learned from the teachers, just watch it. Don't get too caught up in pleasure or the pain in them. Just observe.

Ok, I can observe (it was much harder than I thought), and continued to practice that until I could observe without thoughts interrupting me for longer and longer periods of time. As I went further and further into it, my sensitivity increased, and that led to me feeling sensations in my body, that through normal everyday living, I would never have noticed.

And I began to think this whole meditation thing was a struggle against myself, and did not find it enjoyable AT ALL. And then, all of a sudden...

Explosion!

It seemed like my mind exploded out of nowhere. My thoughts, and especially my dreams became super vivid. Like, virtual TV, except I was producing all the content. Mixing memories with new ideas, I was living an incredibly, creative landscape. A whole new world revealed itself, and I was in AWE.

Besides being entertained by it all, it seemed to solve some problems I had been dealing with all on its own. I didn't ask it (by "it", I'm referring to my mind) for help, it just worked on its own. This wonderful tool has been laying dormant inside of me all this time. It finally dawned on me the difference between solving problems in a regular, ho hum way, and the creative, inspirational, and innovative way.

The innovations may not have been much to anyone else, but it was to ME, and that made all the difference.

New Beginnings

I could go on and on about my personal account doing Vipassana. Doing that first 10 day meditation retreat saved my life, literally. I would go on to do it three more times, and each time, new revelations, new challenges, and more growth.

As my personal testimonial, I can say that I have become far more creative than ever (compared to how I used to be, that's saying something), experience less stress, zero anxiety (I used to have panic attacks), I'm more open and expressive, I definitely have more perspective of my life, and am far more insightful and caring.

If you have any questions about my experiences, please drop me a note. I'll be happy to answer them. And feel free to share your own. We all have meditated at times, and usually an all in one experience like that seems to come upon us when we least expect it. It's just nice to know that we can initiate the process instead of waiting for it to happen.


Welcome

Well, I took a while, but I'm ready to start this blogging thing.

I'm going to posting a lot of information on a lot of different topics. My goal is to share life changing information, meaning, the information that has altered or dramatically shifted my own perspective and behaviors.

And I think it can help you, too. I hope to share some good stuff with you. So stay tuned, more information is on the way.