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Beating Yourself Up is Not a Good Learning Strategy

Beating Yourself Up is Not a Good Learning Strategy

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    Everyone makes mistakes, and most people know that the most mature way to deal with them is to own up to the foible, apologize to the parties involved, and learn as much as you can from it so that you don’t find yourself in the same situation again.  But here’s another piece of advice you seldom hear.

    Stop Beating Yourself Up

    A few weeks ago, I accidentally made a huge, work-related blunder.  I realized what I did immediately after it happened and called my colleague on the project.   After taking responsibility and expressing my remorse, I proceeded to berate myself…for an hour.   I moaned about how I couldn’t believe I could do such a thing when I warn clients and readers against it every day.  My colleague said that it would be okay, really, but I just went on and on.  My kids were in bed and my husband was out of town, so after I hung up the phone, I locked myself in my room and put a pillow over my head like the world was ending.

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    An Expectation of Perfection

    It later occurred to me that the reason I’d had such an extreme reaction is that I expected myself to be perfect and assumed that mistakes only happened to other people – never to me.  I let it undermine my self-confidence and also my colleague’s confidence in me.  In reality, the colleague probably didn’t think I was that bad until I insisted on taking the blame for all of the world’s tribulations.

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    You Can’t Always Play it Safe

    Blunders are part of the universal human experience and you can’t expect to get away scot-free.  In fact, the more you put yourself out there and try to do meaningful things, the more likely you are to make a mistake.   And when one inevitably occurs, do the proper accounting, and then give yourself a break.  You’ll feel better, and the other people involved will too.

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    Last Updated on January 25, 2021

    6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

    6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

    Perfectionism sounds like a first world problem, but it stifles creative minds. Having a great idea but doubting your ability to execute it can leave you afraid to just complete and publish it. Some of the most successful inventors failed, but they kept going in pursuit of perfection. On the other end of the spectrum, perfectionism can hinder people when they spend too much time seeking recognition, gathering awards and wasting time patting themselves on the back. Whatever your art, go make good art and don’t spend time worrying that your idea isn’t perfect enough and certainly don’t waste time coming up with a new idea because you’re still congratulating yourself for the last one.

    1. Remember, perfection is subjective.

    If you’re worried about achieving perfectionism with any single project so much that you find yourself afraid to just finish it, then you aren’t being productive. Take a hard look at your work, edit and revise, then send it our into the world. If the reviews aren’t the greatest, learn from the feedback so you can improve next time.

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    2. Procrastination masquerades itself as perfectionism.

    People who procrastinate aren’t always lazy or trying to get out of doing something. Many who procrastinate do so because perfectionism is killing their productivity, telling them that if they wait a better idea will come to them.

    3. Recognize actions that waste time.

    Artists and all creative people need time to incubate; those ideas will only grow when properly watered, but if you’re not engaging in an activity that will help foster creativity, you might just be wasting time. Remember to do everything with purpose, even relaxing.

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    4. Don’t discriminate against your worth.

    No one is actually perfect. We often have tremendous ideas or write things that move people emotionally, but no one attains that final state of being perfect. So, don’t get down if your second idea isn’t as good as your first—or vice versa. Perfectionists tend to be the toughest critics of their work, so don’t criticize yourself. You are not your work no matter how good or how bad.

    5. Stress races your heart and freezes your innovation.

    Stress is a cyclic killer that perfectionists know well because that same system that engages and causes your palms to sweat over a great idea is the same system that kicks in and worries you that you’re not good enough. Perfectionism means striving for that ultimate level, and stress can propel you forward excitedly or leave you shaking in fear of the next step.

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    6. Meeting deadlines beats waiting for perfect work.

    Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from meeting your deadline. Perfection is subjective and if you’re wasting time or procrastinating, you should just finish the job and learn from any mistakes. Being productive means completing work. You shouldn’t try for months or even years to perfect one project when you can produce projects that improve over time.

    Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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