1: There is a big difference between perfectionism and optimizing.
Perfection is a distant star we can never reach. After all, there are no perfect human beings. We are, in fact, perfectly imperfect.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to take Philosopher Brian Johnson’s year-long Heroic Coach program, which focuses on Optimizing.
The person who is mistake-free is sitting around doing nothing, Brian tells us.
As professional optimizers, we accept our imperfections. We have high standards. But we also accept ourselves, and we accept reality.
Our commitment? To do our absolute best. Right now. In this moment.
2: One of the secrets of life, Brian tells us, is “playing poorly well.” We know we will take some bad shots. We don’t let it rattle us. “Needs work,” we say. Then, we pick ourselves up and try again. Boom.
When the world takes a giant bite out of us, we suffer well. We treat ourselves like a beloved child. What’s working? We ask. What needs work? What will I do differently next time? Then, we focus on closing the gap between our desired outcome and where we are right now.
What do we not do? Spend time worrying about other people’s successes. “Envy is the ulcer of the soul,” Socrates reminds us. When other people are successful, it builds our confidence. Because it can be done.
3: Amor fati: “Love of fate,” the Stoics called it. Everything in life happens for a reason. Including suffering and loss. “When I argue with reality, I lose. Only 100% of the time,” Byron Katie writes.
We accept reality. We celebrate reality. Whatever happens, we say, “Perfect.” It is what it is. Then, we ask: Now, what will I do about it?
More next week.
Reflection: Think about an experience where I persevered and overcame setbacks to achieve the desired outcome. What did I learn? How did I feel?
Action: Journal about my answers to the questions above.