Life Isn't a Game of Perfect

flow perfectionism

One of the mental game classics for sport was a book written by Dr. Bob Rotella called 'Golf Is NOT A Game Of Perfect'. [1]

It was one of the first books that really helped me to understand that mistakes are going to happen, and they don't make you less worthy.

BUT... how you respond to and recover from those mistakes (or unlucky/unfair situations) matters. That's what illuminates your true character.

Sport reveals character

There's a great saying, "sport doesn't develop character, it reveals it".

It's easy to look strong when everything is going well, but not so easy when things are going wrong.

If we start to accept that there will be good times and there will be times that are trying, we can start to appreciate the good times more as the gifts they are, and understand that the times that are more trying are going to happen anyway.

We need to trust our training, focus on the process, and take the lessons that those difficult moments offer, versus wishing our lives away for some future joy or more perfect situation—simply because we are facing difficulties.

”Life isn't a game of perfect, but because we want it to be perfect, we get rattled when life throws us curve ball." — Kathy Keats

The curse of competence

In any given performance, there will be moments that are less than perfect.

There is no perfect sporting competition, no perfect book, no perfect business.

As a matter of fact, the irony is the more accomplished you are, the more aware you are of what ISN'T perfect.

In fact, it's almost a curse. It causes you to lose your flow.

For example, a talented musician I knew with perfect pitch (the ability to hear exactly what note is being played in music) would often struggle to enjoy listening to music because he could hear every note or instrument that was slightly out of tune.

In dog agility, there is always a turn that could've been tighter or a cue given with better timing.

When writing the first draft of a novel or blog post, it's easy to get stuck trying to find the perfect word or phrase.

The important thing is to not let your mind stop on it and affect the other elements of the performance. You need to let it go and move on. Performance needs to be in the moment.

The time for analysis is after the performance.

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried." — Stephen McCranie

Your goal is to do your best

Promise yourself that every day you will choose to be grateful and take each thing in stride, do the best you possibly can, and make the best of every moment that is presented to you, regardless of it's in performance, work or at home.

Whether it is good or it is bad, the truth is...'this too shall pass'. And the truth is, in life, you usually have to slog through some gunk to get to the good stuff.

It's not all going to be perfect.

So don't hold back for fear of making mistakes. (Because I'll let you in on a secret. You're going to make some. šŸ˜‰ )

Take some risks. Find the lessons. Live with gusto.

Not only will you go further faster, you'll attract like-minded folks and inspire someone else to do the same.

Enthusiasm for life is contagious. Spread it around.


[1] Golf Is NOT A Game Of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella

[2] The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman


[Please note article contains affiliate links.]


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