Fear of Imperfection

When I get stuck, I tend to try and think my way out.

As my wife of almost six years would tell you, that’s probably not the best thing for me to do. However, it is a habit I cannot seem to break.

In my current rut of which I am stuck in I’ve been doing some reflection on why I’m in this rut. It is not a fun rut. I really don’t like being here and I know that things are better when I am out of this said rut but … here I sit. Stuck. In a rut.

Here’s the thing, I’m afraid.

I’m not afraid of failing, per say, or of the unknown (because who really knows what is going to happen even when we do think we have a decent idea of where things are going). No, I’m afraid of doing some imperfect.

Mainly this revolves around programming. What is stuck in my head is that I can’t do anything unless the entire project, from start to finish and every step in between, is going to be perfect. Every step clear. Every decision the correct one. Every line of code exactly where it should be and typed the correct way the first time. Having to clean up later or remove code that really didn’t need to be there is not acceptable. In my head, it shouldn’t be that way. Not that this should be easy, but that I should be able to, somehow, do it perfectly even if it is hard.

I’m not wholly sure where this has come from or how long it has been here, but that is what has been surfaced during my current reflection. It is amazing what a person can find out about themselves even after 26 years.

So what to do? Really, it is to get the fingers moving and the code going again. It is to force through even if things aren’t going perfectly. Embrace the ugly, as it may be in a way. Focus on small wins.

All stuff I know.

It also means putting down the books and tutorials, at least in the obsessive, “this will surely teach me the perfect way” style that I have been reading books recently. What good is the knowledge if not harnessed for something bigger, for moving ahead? It isn’t worth anything except to help me sound smarter when sitting around the table.

What good is that last part anyway? Meaningless.

So I move ahead, with fits and starts, with ideas. With failure behind and ahead and move forward, hoping to find something and knowing that going anywhere is infinitely better than standing still.

3 Replies to “Fear of Imperfection”

  1. You’ll get through it Bob. Just cast aside your Germanic perfectionism long enough to have fun, to play, and the ideas will flow again 😉

    1. Curse my German upbringing! It serves me well in many cases, but here I think of it as a hinderance more often than not.

      Perfect in the enemy of good … and most times an enemy of getting anything done or even started.

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