Motivation experiment days 16-18: the joys of imperfection

On day 16 of my exercise in daily drawing I experienced a drop in my intrinsic motivation. After a few days of easily producing drawings I liked by tracing pictures, going back to drawing from my imagination meant struggling again with ideas for what to draw.

Drawing of a skull

Motivation experiment day 16 – drawn 6/05/2014

Having been involved in some planning for a pirate-themed birthday party, the idea of drawing a skull came to mind.
Continue reading

At What Cost?

My last post – The Antidote – linked to a post at the blog Hands Free Mama which was about the journey of letting go of the perfectionist’s desire to do it all for the sake of, paradoxically, having more.

In today’s post I want to make an important acknowledgement: there is a cost.

There is a cost to having more of something. That cost is having less of something else.

Australian currency

There is a cost to having more of something. That cost is having less of something else.

If you want to have more chocolote, you have to be prepared to have less money and, depending on how much more chocolate you intend to have, perhaps a less healthy figure.

Stating the blindingly obvious, right? Well, there is an aspect that may not be so obvious.
Continue reading

The Antidote

I have written several times about perfectionism. Trying to achieve perfection would be a good thing if the energy it required didn’t so consistently get in the way of actually living a life that mattered to you and the people you love. Today I stumbled across a blog writer who I thought beautifully captured the paradox of one form of perfectionism: the need to do it all.

I miss out on what REALLY matters in life. And here is the part that caused teardrops to dampen the front of my shirt just like it does in a rainstorm: What I miss, I won’t ever get back.

She also offers an antidote, and says of her journey now:

I am witnessing and experiencing the simple, joyful things around me that I was too distracted to notice before. I am now free to grasp what really matters.

Her “about” post is what particularly grabbed me today (About Hands Free – Hands Free Mamma), but the rest of her blog is also well worth a look.

Word perfect

The internet can be quiet a mind field because often what you read is unaccurate. Its partly because people rope learn facts or phrases without checking there source or based on what they have miss-heard. Its probably a good idea to be weary of facts that are presented without sighting reliable sources. If you’re curiosity is peaked by some new theory, do some background checking. Weather you learned a fact twenty years ago or yesterday is a mute point: it could turn out to be wrong. Maybe you could care less, but if you like to be accurate you could wet your appetite with a review of Wikipedias useful List of common misconceptions.

How many mistakes can you find in the text? 10 is average, above 14 is excellent.

This was a post put up yesterday on our Thrive Wellness facebook page. In case you’re looking for the answer, I thought it was between 16 and 18 depending on opinion on a couple of things (for example, “unaccurate” does appear in some dictionaries, and has a history of appearing in some literature but is generally considered a mispelling).
Continue reading

It Has to be Perfect

You are reading an article online and you come across the following sentence:

Sometimes when your driving you may notice your car does not seem to be performing at it’s best.

Do you cringe? Do you immediately scroll to the bottom of the article to find the comments section and fire off this reply:

Cutting costs on editors now? The sentence should read: “Sometimes when you’re driving you may notice your car does not seem to be performing at its best.”

You frequently berate yourself for not having made progress on a mental list of tasks that need to be done. You have piles of unread mail to go through; there is that assignment due next week and you keep telling yourself that this time you aren’t going to leave it until the last minute and then stay up until 2am completing it; your lawn is getting long and you are worrying about what the neighbours will think about the fact you haven’t mown yet.

You are driving at 100km/h in a 100km/h zone. Someone overtakes you; you estimate he is doing 106km/h. You secretly hope he gets pulled over for speeding. If you do see him pulled over, you feel secretly pleased.

You are given a project to work on with a team of colleagues. You do most of the work yourself because you’re sure the others wouldn’t do it right.

You don’t like anyone to help you clean up at home because they always put things in the wrong place, or they wipe the benches with the dish cloth and the dishes with the bench cloth.

You have trouble throwing things away – you never know when they might come in handy.

You finding yourself spending more time developing a more efficient way to complete a one-off task than it would have taken you to just do the task with the tools you already had.

Your friends tell you that you work too much … or you don’t have time for friends.

Someone at work is collecting money for yet another birthday or farewell cake. You try to avoid contributing.

You have an eye for detail and always complete tasks to a very high standard. But, at the same time, you find it hard to get the motivation to start something and you are never happy with the end result. Nothing ever feels good enough.

You are in a waiting room and the urge to straighten a crooked painting on the wall is becoming almost overwhelming.

Annoyingly crooked square in a set of neatly arranged squares

If more than a few of the above scenarios sound familiar to you, it might be fair to say you are a bit of a perfectionist. If quite a lot of the above sound familiar to you but you are thinking, “Me? A perfectionist?! No way! You should see the mess in my garden shed/bedroom/kitchen/office …!” then you most likely are a perfectionist (who, like most perfectionists, is incessantly bothered by your inability to meet your own standard of perfection). Does this mean you have a problem? Not necessarily.
Continue reading

The Unrelenting Society


  1. Not yielding in strength, severity, or determination: “the heat was unrelenting”
  2. (of a person or their behaviour) Not giving way to kindness or compassion.

I am increasingly troubled by the endless expectations for perfection imposed upon people by their social environment. I perceive a long-standing trend of criticism permeating a wide range of our social and cultural influences. It has long been fed to us by advertising, entertainment, newspapers, television, books and radio. But with the growth of social media I am concerned by the impact of this voice entering the innermost circle of our social influences.

Before I write in detail about unrelenting standards and why their emergence in social media is troubling, let me give an example.

A coming social apocalypse?

Following are excerpts from a post I saw distributed on facebook some weeks ago – “These Photos are Proof Albert Einstein was Correct About Technology“:

… It looks as if Albert Einstein was right. Albert Einstein was fearful of the growth of technology and its effect on the human race. Here is Albert Einstein’s quote:

“I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.”

Continue reading