A guest post on the learning journey of self doubt. By: Greg Audino.
Whether it be an hourly occurrence, a daily occurrence, a weekly occurrence or an annual occurrence, self doubt pays each and every one of us a visit at one point or another.
You know what I’m talking about. You’re faced with a new challenge — a lot of the time it doesn’t f*cking matter at all whether you’re excited or terrified by it — and the inner monologue gets going. You focus on those who excel at it, watching them perform with grace. Sure there are also the stragglers who are either new or mediocre, but why watch them? They aren’t dazzling. After all, AVERAGE is a dime a dozen.
But you know what else is a dime a dozen? Perfection. Say what? Yeah.
* Editor's Note: Listen to Justin addressing the topic of mindfulness in Episode 1054 of Optimal Living Daily. If you're a new listener, check out all the shows in the Optimal Living Daily podcast network!
Stop Waiting for Perfection
As far as those living in the now are concerned, perfection is a dime a dozen. It’s everywhere: Oscars, Grammys, ESPYs, Golden Globes, VMAs not to mention a new f*cking top 10 list everywhere you turn. The other day on Facebook I saw The 10 Most Shocking Things You Can Legally Send in the Mail. Who cares?! And who comes up with this sh*t?
Well, the sad truth is that most people care. And because most people are tuning into this stuff, constantly in search of an opportunity to one-up their standards, the bar is being set unreasonably high and we’re tricked into thinking that excellence is the new normal. Given what we’re exposed to, our brains can’t really tell the difference. Can’t blame it.
But what we see and what we believe are what we compare ourselves to. So for most, the prospect of diving into a new challenge now has to go through a screening process during which we first measure ourselves against perfection. This is one of the countless occasions in life in which we don’t have the clarity to think step by step.
By jumping into the idea that perfection is the only acceptable way to perform, which like most things, comes from a need to fit in, all of the beats in between are forgotten about and the idea of being average or God forbid a beginner is, for many people, just not an option. Needless to say, this mentality prevents people from taking challenges, because not being involved is seen as safer than being average. After all, if you haven’t tried, you can’t get knocked for it, right?
Some things will come naturally to you, most others won’t. Underperforming in those other things is a huge part of life…loving yourself when you underperform is an ESSENTIAL part of life. These are facts. We are all average AND we’re all unique. Facing this truth and coming to terms with the fact that your external accomplishments will never add true value to who you are — unless you’re Mother Theresa…probably… — should be a sobering enough thought to realize that there’s no need to doubt yourself, because what you’re about to do more than likely doesn’t matter at all and even if it goes horribly wrong and the nightmare becomes true, I guarantee you will eventually find yourself laughing and smiling again.
Perfection is Subjective
“But Greg, what about when other people are involved and it’s not all about me?”
Oh, terrific, I’m so glad you’re thinking about other people.
This kind of fear usually sets in when people are in business, but it can certainly apply to parenting or teaching one anything really. Again it’s the need for perfection getting in the way.
For as much as we are exposed to images of perfection, the part that we conveniently forget to take into consideration is the subjectivity of it. Top athletes, performers, f*cking restaurants, whatever, are constantly striving to be better because that opportunity is always there. The same goes for Jo Schmo who all of a sudden gets a kick in the ass and wants to better himself.
Improvement easily has the potential to be a daily occurrence AND a daily nuisance at the same time, because for as much as you improve, perfection will never really be achieved. It is for this reason that action must come before motivation.
Combat Doubt… By Jumping In
Taking action on your challenges, learning and making moves even for a week already grants you abilities that you can teach to anyone who hasn’t started yet. I can go paint a picture right now and that sh*t isn’t going into any museums but I can certainly teach a child how to paint, they’ll learn something and have a good time. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but lower your standards, guys. Whether you’re trying to guide someone else or just save some little smidge of pride for your ego, it’s not about being the best, or even average. It’s really just about not being very last. And if you’re last, it probably means you’re some kind of inanimate object. So chin up!
I feel like a middle-aged father of five when I say this, but there is never a right time to start. The stars aren’t going to align. You can always help someone AND you can always learn something. You need to make the waves of life assimilate to you, not the other way around.
Ultimately, and I know it’s been repeated all over the place, but the value of jumping in, willing to accept any and all consequences, can’t be stressed enough.
GUEST BLOGGER: Greg Audino is an actor and certified life coach. He creates self-development videos to shine new a new light on many tough subjects we tend to have our minds made up about.