How to Accomplish More by Accepting Your Imperfection

When it comes to getting things done, too often we overthink and obsess about each decision.  We sit idle because we're afraid to choose wrong.

Guess what?  You aren't God.  You don't have all knowledge and control.  So accept that.

Which way?

How to decide

The way to get better at making decisions is to decide.  Choose, choose, choose, and you'll get better at choosing.  Learn to trust that you'll make the right choice or that you'll be able to deal with a wrong one.

Most decisions aren't about life and death, but we act as if they are.  Should I take Clark Avenue or Gray Avenue to get to my appointment on time?  What if I choose Clark Avenue and run into heavy traffic?  I'm such an idiot!

Well no, you're not.  You've just proved something you should already be aware of – you're not prescient.  Stop beating yourself up for being human and limited.

And stop turning all of your decisions over to technology.  Siri may be able to gather data from sources you have no access to and deduce which route is fastest, but if you never practice making decisions (especially small, relatively unimportant ones), you'll never get better at it.  And you wouldn't need Siri if you'd stop rushing around and trying to do everything and be everywhere at once.

(There's that God complex again.)

The (non-linear) path of life

Long ago, a mentor told me that the way to make a decision is to make a decision.  It sounds very Zen, but he was right.  In your imagination, make a decision and act on it.  Do you feel happy about the result?  And if you're not happy, can you fix it or figure out how to live with it?  If you're not happy, make a different decision.  Then act, don't dither.

Too often, we anticipate regret.  Here's a news flash – there will be some things that don't work out the way you hoped.  You can punish yourself forever for being imperfect, or you can use that energy to make the best of your situation.  It might even turn out that the insight you gain and the skills you develop are more helpful than having everything mapped out and perfectly smooth in the first place.

When I was in college more than 40 years ago, like everyone else I made plans for my life.  There's absolutely no way I could have imagined the actual path I took to get where I am today.  There is no straight line from there to here.  And that's what life is for all of us.  It's a voyage of discovery.

You don't have to be perfect.

the road
Don't be impossible to please.  No one is happy and successful all of the time, but it is possible to make yourself constantly miserable by lamenting your imperfections.

So do you want chocolate or strawberry?  (That's about how important many of our decisions really are.)  Either ice cream might be good, but which is best?

Just choose already!  You can always change your mind, or decide that good is good enough.

We make the road by traveling.  We get more done by doing.

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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