Perfectionism is the enemy, not the friend of creativity. When we try to get something “right”— meaning perfect— we create a debilitating loop, as we focus only on fixing what we see as wrong and are blind to what is right. The perfectionist re-draws the chin line until there is a hole in the paper. The perfectionist rewrites a sentence until it makes no sense. The perfectionist edits a musical passage over and over, losing sight of the whole. For the perfectionist, nothing is ever quite good enough. Obsessed with the idea that something must be perfect, we lose sight of the joy of creation.
Perfectionism is the ego’s wicked demand. It denies us the pleasure of process. Instead, we are told by the ego that we must have instantaneous success— and our perfectionism believes it, lock, stock and barrel. Perfectionism tells us that to push ahead, we must be perfect. And yet, it is often perfectionism that stalls us and keeps us from moving ahead at all. Perfectionism is the opposite of humility, which allows us to move slowly and steadily forward, making and learning from our mistakes. Perfectionism says do it “right”— or not at all.