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Give Yourself the Gift of Done
- Read in 12 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 7 key ideas
Finish (2017) is a guidebook for anyone who loves starting new projects but always struggles to complete them. You’ll discover how the real enemy to getting things done isn’t laziness, but rather the voice of the disgruntled perfectionist we all have inside us. This valuable advice can help you reduce needless, self-imposed pressure, giving you the opportunity to finish what you’ve started and be more productive.
Key idea 1 of 7
Nothing in life is perfect, and the real work of finishing a project begins after the first sign of imperfection.
We’ve all been there: you start an exciting new project, but somewhere along the line, it stalls and remains unfinished. Our excuses are always the same, as we’ll tell ourselves or others that “life just got in the way,” or “I was never able to get back on track.”
But if we’re being truthful, a more accurate explanation is “I quit once it stopped being perfect,” because the real roadblock to finishing our projects is perfectionism.
Any plan can be ruined by perfectionism. Once, the author, Jon Acuff, began a new year with an ambitious new exercise regime. It started off perfectly, with over 70 miles run in the months of February, March and April. But then came May, and he only completed eight miles, followed by June, with only three. With his excellent streak ruined, Acuff gave up.
Acuff had the same thought a lot of us have: “If it’s not perfect, then it’s not worth doing.” But this is dangerous thinking, because nothing in life is perfect and no one should go around thinking everything will go their way. If we limit ourselves to perfect work, we’d never accomplish anything!
Instead, it’s best to expect imperfection and understand that when it arrives, the real work begins.
It’s normal for imperfection to arrive first thing on Monday morning. Before you even sit down at your desk, there may well be multiple problems that need fixing. How you deal with these imperfections, and how you proceed once they arrive, is what determines your success in meeting goals.
In fact, it’s the actions on the day after something went wrong that separate the quitters from the achievers. Did you skip the gym and sleep in instead? Did your diet go out the window after you devoured a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts one afternoon?
The day after imperfections like these are when you need to accept that life is messy, and push on with your goals. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that excellence can only be achieved through perfection when, in reality, perfectionism is the killer of excellence.