Artist, Writer, Woman, Mother, Healer, Teacher, Biohacker, Gardener, Friend, Entrepreneur
I have been accused of having perfect eyebrows. This post is to show you that is not true. When you look closely everything has flaws. In fact, there is very little about me that is perfect, thankfully. That would be a hard thing to measure up to every day – perfection – yet so many people I know, try valiantly. I did for many years until I recognized that I appreciated productivity over perfection.
My sons struggled with this need to excel as well. For years I put them onto sports teams and in group situations with a specific and calculated effort to get them comfortable with losing, and the acceptance that comes with knowing that you are not the best at everything. Yeah, that may seem like a total dick mom move, eh? Setting your kids up to fail? The thing is, this was an effort to set them up to succeed when the bigger challenges in life came their way. The problem wasn’t my approach but that every team took first place, and they learned that they could in fact do anything. Now, you may wonder why this is a problem. I mean, we all want our kids to excel right? We want our children to believe they can do anything they can set their minds to.
When you can do anything you can get a superiority complex and you become master of nothing but an ego. I’ve been there, done that. It is not a pretty place. It is a hollow place and it is an easy place. When you can do anything you can easily lose the desire to do more, or to be productive because you know how readily you can accomplish this, that or the other when you actually set your mind to it. So you have to learn to temper that “I can do anything” approach with the question, “how does this serve?”.
When you focus your excellence, your skills, your talents you can create mastery. Mastery gives a sense of accomplishment. When humans master something they more often than not want to share that discovery. This path also has it’s dangers. You can exclude all else in the pursuit of mastery and that becomes a quest for perfection that is often unsatisfying too. It serves others, but not yourself. There is no balance.
Back in January I wrote a post about the need to lose balance in the moment to gain balance in life. I am still seeking balance. It’s a perfection I will likely never achieve, but it is a practice I enjoy pursuing mastery of and I think it serves the many who encounter me because I go about more thankful, more at ease and far less superior feeling than I use to. My eyebrows aren’t raised scoffing quite so much, and instead are raised in wonder more often. I don’t worry so much about measuring up to anyone else’s standards, but simply creating a new measure of the better me each day. When I fall, I get up. I move forward. I keep on, keeping on.
We all need balance, but as my youngest son pointed out, we need those focused, driven and perfection thrust people too. Without them there would not be advances in science, medicine, transportation, music or creative gastronomy any of the things that make our world more convenient, more full of experience and a better place to be. We also need those who shun the pursuit of better, faster, more and live simple, embrace thought and love and forgo ego in pursuit of something purer.
This diversity helps us achieve balance. We need so many different types of people in the world, minus the whole superiority complex thing. Today I need a master of orthopedic surgery to work his magic on my son, so I sought out a guy who chose to become a Master. The cool thing is, he is matter of fact about his skills, accepts that while his technique is perfect the outcome may not be what is expected and he delivers it with humor and a manner than speaks of valiant effort, but not vanity. If only we could all be so generous in our service, and in sharing our knowledge and skills. Maybe then the balance would tip to a place where productivity on our planet became more important than the illusion of perfection.