Bad hair day? Put it up in a ponytail!
“You can never get it wrong and you can never get it done.”
I read this quote recently and it blew my mind. It was like someone had distilled the essence of life and presented it to me in one line. “I wish I’d read this earlier, like say, my twenties,” I thought to myself. “I would have saved myself so much agony.”
But then again, what do they say about the teacher appearing when the student is ready? I doubt I was ready to imbibe this message in my twenties. I was too busy trying to be perfect, you see.
I’m one of the laziest people you’ll ever meet. And like most lazy people, the core of my laziness is not an inordinate proclivity towards the pleasures of the flesh. It is — surprise! — an obsession with perfectionism.
Perfectionism is like an onion, which, when you peel back the layers, reveals some very unlikely suspects. There’s self-doubt. A paralysing fear of failure. And a feeling of not being good enough. Ever.
So we perfectionists take what appears to us the most logical step (or non-step): doing nothing. Because if you do nothing, you can’t fail. If you never put yourself out there, you can never be rejected. Get the picture?
Which is why “you can never get it wrong and you can never get it done” is such a freeing philosophy. It completely lets you off the hook. What it essentially tells you is that what you’re perceiving as a “mistake” isn’t one at all: it’s just you living life! You are making a decision based on where you are in your life and on the resources available to you in this moment, and whatever the outcome, it is okay!
It is helping you move forward fearlessly in your life, helping you learn lessons, helping you LIVE! Because life is not about cowering in the sidelines, afraid of making a wrong move; it is about embracing wherever you are in its entirety and all the associated glorious messes!
Besides, you can never get it done. Life does not have a finite number of goals; the list of your desires is ever-expanding, ever-changing. Another supremely freeing thought! When you realise there’s no determinate bucket list to cross off, you learn to be more relaxed in your approach to life. You’re never going to get it “done.” So why not just enjoy the journey and see what new desires it brings with it?
So the next time you have a big date and you wake up with a giant zit on your nose? Go anyway! He probably won’t even notice it and you’ll have the time of your life! How will you know unless you show up? And if he does notice, and judges you adversely for it, well, he’s not the one! Onto the next!
Or say you have been procrastinating on your college assignment citing “writer’s block.” If you look closely at it, writer’s block is just fear of failure. Fear of being judged adversely. Just bite the bullet and write that damn piece! Give it all you’ve got! Worse comes to worst, you’ll get a bad grade. But you’ll also get pointers on how you can do better the next time, right? And you’ll have tried! Which is the ONLY important thing. Sure beats the hell out of the alternative: doing nothing at all because you’re so afraid to fail.
There’s nothing you have to prove to anyone. On the flip side, nobody is going to give you brownie points for not having screwed up. We’re here for one thing and one thing only: the experience of having lived life in all its messy, imperfect, at times even ugly, glory. To do anything else (or not do anything else) is to die before our time.