We Don’t Have to be Perfect
By Z Zoccolante
I’m working a project right now to be released in the upcoming months. Some of this project involves writing. A portion of it involves editing an interview I did with my parents.
If you’ve ever tried to edit an interview, you’re in for a huge headache. Almost all humans talk in overlapping circles because information in our heads isn’t linear, it’s in this bucket of snakes where everything moves and shifts and is interconnected.
At some point in this parceling process, my partner in this project stopped and sat back in his chair. “It’s too long,” he said. And then broke down for me the truth which turned my brain to mush.
I’d already spent hours going over the interview, writing around it, and editing out parts. It was exhausting. But the truth was that it was still too long.
Why my co-pilot on this magic carpet ride is great . . . (It’s a Night at the Roxbury reference for those of you who didn’t get this) . . . He told it to me straight, basically saying that the audience will get bored and I’ve gotta go back through everything and start again and build on just a few points, like 3 or so.
Then, for past perfectionists like myself, here was the magic. It doesn’t have to be perfect, go with my first reaction and don’t second guess it.
My brain felt like mush. Boo, all the work I’d done and back to square one. But thus is life with many things. I’d take the rest of the night to let my brain have some time off before I began refreshed again the next day. Sometimes we all end up again at square one, but I guess we’re wiser for it right? Having honed some important lesson and probably going to do a better job at it the next time around.
So the next day, I was doing a written interview where I was writing answers to questions. This exhausts me because even though I’m a writer, I’d much rather give you information in a conversation than answer a list of questions. I noticed my reflex kick in to get overwhelmed, to want to disconnect, take a break, and put it off for anther day. But then the words fell into my head again. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Go with your first reaction. Don’t second guess it.
And so I kept my fingers moving on the keys and didn’t take it as perfection’s game. And I was reminded of how valuable this simple advice is, for how we do one thing is how we do everything.
There are so many things in life that we feel we need to do perfectly and so they drag on and on, or in some cases never get done at all. There’s a time to fine-tune sure, but for most things they just need to get done. And usually, when we’re not stressing out about it, our best self shows up and things end up turning out pretty darn good after all.
So for this week, remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Go with your first reaction and don’t second guess yourself.