Recognizing how I’m holding myself back by my own ideals

Sometimes I feel stuck. The truth is, I often just really want there to be one right and true way to do something. I’d even be willing to accept — given that not all humans think or function the exact same way — one right and true way for me to do something. Alas, the more I search for the perfect answers, the more I realize that these rarely exist. Most of the time, I can only find multiple decent answers, each compromising perfection in their own way. No matter how often that truth is demonstrated to me, sometimes I still can’t let go of the ideal, and so I spend more time looking and feeling increasingly frustrated.

I want the “real world” to work the way things did in grade school. I kicked butt in grade school. Do the homework, memorize the information or methodologies for a test, be rewarded with a widely recognized metric of success. The goal and the pathway to get there were clear.

However, now that I’m in the “real world” (and have been for.. yikes! over a decade), I realize I need to unlearn how I view success and failure. I need to practice setting better goals and creating my own plans to meet them. I’ve already been doing this through this blog, but it still feels off, as though I’m still trying to find that perfect formula and am coming up horribly, horribly short.

In my head, I know that even imperfect solutions still move me ahead more than sitting with no solution at all. Logically, I know that even if I find a solution that checks all my boxes, a flash change in my circumstances could make this solution ill-fitting.

I need to stop asking myself if an approach solves all my problems without introducing new ones and instead ask myself, is this new way an improvement from the old? Then try it out knowing I can always tweak it or try something new later. In just giving that imperfect new way a try, I may be better poised to find another, more effective way, or I may even decide the pitfalls of this one aren’t so terrible after all.

Part of my blocker is that I’m afraid. I’m afraid to make a mistake, afraid to waste my time or energy (ironic since I arguably ‘waste’ so much of it researching to find the perfect way), afraid to look foolish.

But if I never try, I may remain stuck forever.

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