Perfectionism is a thief in the night. It’s the friend that betrays you. It presents itself as a positive ideal, meanwhile burying you in erroneous detail and increasing self-doubt. That’s why this episode needed to be made.
We’ve spoken amongst one-another countless times about this concept, as Ryan is a recovering perfectionist. In terms of his art, it’s something that one could claim has served him well on some level, as his music has a profound amount of depth, texture, and imagery, especially for not typically having lyrics. Since we’ve been close friends for a good long while now, I’ve been able to see a fair amount of his process, and a whole lot of the mental and emotional toll it takes on him. It ain’t pretty. Luckily for Ryan, he’s pretty self-aware, and always receptive to outside wisdom.
Personally, I’m more of a “get it done and on to the next thing”, “churn and burn”, “good is good enough” kinda guy. There are a million old cliched phrases one can use, and philosophers have literally been discussing this very topic since basically the inception of philosophy. Confucius is attributed with saying “Better to be a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” A good unknown one is “We mustn’t let ‘perfect’ become the enemy of ‘better’.” I like that one. It speaks to the harmony of letting things exist as they are.
We talk about it a bit in Episode 11, but Ryan really responds favorably to Forging Flame SuperFriend Jessica Haeckel’s approach to avoiding the paralysis related to perfections, and I really love the forced perspective shift included in this practice, but here it is:
When Jessica is painting and she reaches a point where the next steps are eluding her, and she just can’t figure out what to paint next, she applies her perfectionism directly and literally as a useful tool. She goes back to a minor detail that may need a little tweaking or repair, and just fixes some of the small things. Her action never ceases, forcing the function of painting to continue, but by the time she’s fixed a handful of very minor, seemingly insignificant details, she’s approaching the point where she once got stuck with a more complete perspective on what’s missing. The beauty and metaphor in that process is astounding.