We are living in the age of the side hustle. If your day job doesn’t quite feel like enough, there are countless platforms that can give you the opportunity to live out your creative fantasies. It’s an exciting, autonomous time to be living in, but this freedom can also be utterly overwhelming. On more insecure days, you can feel that hundreds of other people have already had your idea, so why bother?
Real talk: Hundreds of other people probably have had your idea, and are carrying it out as we speak.
The difference is you. Only you are you. Only you have gathered your unique set of life experiences, and only you have your specific point of view. Remember why you started doing your creative thing in the first place – it’s likely that you are good at it, and that you enjoy it, which is a beautiful combination.
Every word that you write may not be your most profound. Every picture you paint may not be a masterpiece. If your mindset is “perfection or nothing”, it’s likely that your creative output will mostly consist of the latter.
By putting these incredibly high demands of perfection onto your work, you are setting yourself up to fail. You’ll struggle to find satisfaction in what you do, because you will never consider your efforts as enough, and by extension, will never consider yourself enough.
Progress, however, is an entirely different matter. Progress is aiming not to be the best, but to keep getting better. Progress is realistic and measurable. It’s about the process. If you do something perfectly straight off the bat, without having been through the emotional trials of learning the required skills and developing the specialist techniques, will it be as enjoyable?
Before we compare ourselves to strangers on the Internet, we need to consider what we’re actually seeing. We’re not seeing the process, and ultimately the progress; we’re seeing the finished product. A tightly edited set of squares does little to reveal the behind the scenes action, the toil, the bad days, the countless drafts before the final product was reached.
So I’m choosing to champion progression over perfection.