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Perfectionism is the Ego’s Wicked Demand

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.

from "It's Never Too Late to Begin Again"

4 Comments on "Perfectionism is the Ego’s Wicked Demand"

  1. Thank you for the reminder to stay in touch with the heart, the pulse, the JOY of creating.

  2. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am so excited about the arrival of “It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again”. Just the title is encouraging and a reminder I can always “start the day over”.

    Your blog post on perfectionism as the antithesis of creativity is a reminder to not be stuck in fear, to “let go and let God”. In my spiritual, relationship time with God (creative perfection) this morning the reading was coincidentally the parable of the Ten Minas, (similar to the parable of the talents). It spoke to me about not being afraid to use the gifts I’ve been given, not to bury it or hold back but try to, in God’s will and with the willingness to be in His service, just do it. 🙂

    Without going into detail, your book’s arrival at this time is a God-send. God bless you for using your gifts!

  3. Thank you so much for the Artist’s Way and these comments on perfectionism. I began creating a blog about six months ago but kept the majority of pieces unpublished. But then your meditation cards found me and now the workbook. I am now publishing without perfection. In doing so I get my thoughts out there and any grammar or spelling mistakes I correct the next time I retread my post. Thanks so much! -Marie Higgins, cardinaltouch.blogspot.com.

  4. Thanks for writing this. I have been advocating similar view-points for some time. But sometimes I also fear that by not adopting perfectionism, I might end up compromising on quality. Is this a valid fear? How do we create a balance so that what we create is not perfect but is ‘good enough’?

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