I never really thought of myself as a perfectionist. But I have impossibly high standards for myself that may be unproductive.
While I’m sure some of it innate, some of it is nurture. I went to a school system called Waldorf Schools that didn’t have grades. Every child was evaluated against their individual performance and each class was deliberately taught to the best student in the class not to some perceived middle. That’s left me with a habit of always believing I can improve and also the expectation that our average performance must be comparable to the best.
Of course this is unrealistic if one continues to climb up social, economic, intellectual and cultural ladders. I kept looking for my limit and then finding a new mountain to climb. Know I know there will always be mountains. And that perhaps it’s ok to take some shortcuts on your journey.
I really struggle with shortcuts. So am forcing myself into taking some so I can let go of some of my impossible standards.
I don’t scan books. I read them. So I bought a really bad prepper novel and am forcing myself to take shortcuts in pacing and focus. It’s so bad I don’t have a choice. I have to skip a lot or else I just wouldn’t finish.
I had to go to an appointment today. Normally I’d be sure to shower and wash my hair if I need to be in polite company. I showered yesterday but I just didn’t feel like going to the trouble two days in a row. So I put dry shampoo in my hair and opened up weight wipes for my nether regions. I doubt anyone would have noticed but a shortcut in my grooming routine was pretty liberating.
Today is also Election Day. My hometown has a bunch of local ordnance changes and some important bond related measures. It’s also city council elections. I’ve been following all the ballot issues but I just couldn’t find any city council people I liked. I read all the local papers and they all suck. None of them remotely come into my preference wet. So I took a shortcut. I voted on all the ballot issues and left the city council blank. I just wasn’t going to spend any more time picking lesser evil candidates.
These may seem like pretty different issues and maybe I’m also not fully committed to my civic duty (I’d argue as a democracy it’s a right to abstain from a vote if your conscience cannot condone it). But the point is that instead of getting bogged down in every unrealistic expectation I had of myself I could just take a shortcut.