PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION and BATTING AVERAGES
June 2, 2012
There is a car I seem to follow through town quite a bit. There is a bumper sticker on it that says “Progress Not Perfection”. I really like that.
I think we spend a lot of time and energy on PERFECTION. And, I think it bogs us down and sometimes puts us in a quagmire that we struggle to get out of.
I feel like “perfection” is s bad word.
My husband went to a Cognitive Behavioral therapist for awhile. He came home one day with a big grin on his face and announced with great certainty and obvious sense of relief: “I don’t have to bat 1000. 300 is okay!”
Here was a moment of awakening for me too. We are bombarded by so many things that tell us very clearly, if we are not perfect we are not good enough. Look at TV and magazine ads. Reality TV shows. Look around you…dress like this and you’ll be beautiful. Get hair cut like so and so and people will like your hair cut (not you). Get a big gas wasting car so people will think you are important. Do this so you can be better than them. Appear this way and people will think you are powerful. Bat 1000 and the world will be yours. And if you don’t, you are failing.
Well, for me, batting 300 is pretty great. And I am much happier and more confident in believing I don’t have to bat 1000 to be a good, kind, valuable, contributing, caring person. I can take pride in batting 300 and work towards batting 302, or 305.
I think progress can lead to a different type of “perfection”. The kind of perfection that isn’t absolute. Rather, something more about being able to change and grow, something that is fluid and dynamic, not static and with an end point.
We are all thrown a variety of pitches every day. Some could be called:
CATASTROPHIZING CURVE BALL – Making mountains out of molehills.
RUMINATION SLIDER- Thoughts going around and around in your head.
PROCRASTINATION SINKER – Can’t make final decisions.
WORRY AND GUILT CHANGEUP
WORRYING ABOUT OTHER’S OPINIONS KNUCKLE BALL
SECOND GUESSING OTHER’S THOUGHTS SCREWBALL
REGRETS AND SELF-BLAME SPLITTER
RIGIDITY TO CHANGE FORKBALL- Usually when we keep looking for excuses or reasons why things can’t change – or when we need to get out of our ‘comfort zone’
For each one of these we need to learn how to stand to face it with authority. We need to know how to place our hands on the “bat” so we can send the “Catastrophizing curve ball” flying. We need to learn not to flinch when a “Regret and Blame splitter” is thrown at us. We need to learn to see a “Procrastination sinker” coming. We need to learn the mechanics of how “Rumination slider” moves. And we need to adjust accordingly. We need to make progress through practice and experience, with the help of mentors and team mates. Then we can keep our eye on whatever pitch is coming our way, make commanding contact with it and send it out of the park and out of play in our lives.
And when we begin to understand that with all of the above, 300 is really good, we can begin to believe in ourselves and work on making progress on learning, practicing, trying new things, paying attention, and seeing. We can be unflinching and live fully on the premise: Progress not perfection. Some days we’ll bat 250, or 300. Maybe we’ll get to 375 or as low at 200. But whatever our average, we know it is all about Progress and not Perfection.