Practice makes perfect and other silly things

I say that practice makes perfect is a silly thing simply because I suck at failure. Everyone’s heard the saying “doing something over and over again, yielding the same results is the definition of insanity” or some version of the same sentiment… I see imperfection as failure. So if I’m trying and trying and trying, but failing every time to meet my self proclaimed level of perfection, I feel defeated and kinda crazy. Part of the exercises for this and next month is to try and break that habit. I want to let go of “perfection” as I see it and “failure” as it relates to perfection. Just because something I do isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean I fail. But by calling it practice makes perfect, I’m able to reassess what perfection is to me. Is it getting all A’s this semester? While that would be perfection and I’m definitely striving for that end, I have to be ok with allowing myself a B or even a C without beating myself up over it. I had a hard time with this last semester. I just had to remember that my best, whatever that is for each and every thing I do, has to be good enough… “perfect” in it’s own rite. This also makes me mindful of my limitations, though I try to keep those to a minimum…

I think this is sort of a blanket feeling for all my goals this month, the idea of perfection. Because I’m focusing on Right Effort and Right Meditation, I have to sort of figure out if the INTENT is right, not necessarily the outcome. I have to say that every one of my goals: Decluttering, learning a new skill, dressing more “my age” sometimes, my 15 minute miracles and meditation, are INTENDED to be perfect and also a process of change and learning. I don’t know if it’s exactly possible for them to all be BOTH. I’m almost ready to say that my goals are my new skill for the months, simply because I’ve never undertaken a series of goals such as these, at least not in this way before. I’m learning the art of imperfection, growth and allowing myself to be, well… myself while doing and holding myself accountable for all these procedures.  When I think about them in the grand scheme of things, it’s a bit overwhelming.

But I guess it’s my version of shock therapy. I’m shocking myself into changing my thinking, acting and mindset, about just about everything.

This brings me to Benjamin Franklin. He was a drinking, a womanizer, a founding father of the US, an inventor and many other things… but he was also on a personal quest to find personal, moral perfection. He had 13 virtues that he was striving for, resolved to try and perfect each one in himself, created charts and tracked his own progress on these virtues. Here’s his list:

  1. “TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
  2. “SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
  3. “ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
  4. “RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
  5. “FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
  6. “INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  7. “SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
  8. “JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
  9. “MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
  10. “CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.”
  11. “TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
  12. “CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  13. “HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

As I read through these, I found that several of them are quite similar to what some of my goals are, more or less. It’s interesting that even hundreds of years ago, humans have been riddled with self reflection about many of the same topics. We are all striving, in some form or fashion, to achieve the same goals and “virtues”. I find it quite interesting that even before the advent of telecommunication, the internet, mass transit and all of the things we take for granted in modern society, we all just want to be better, more aware, more kind people. It gives me hope that I’m on the right track and also a bit humbling because even someone so decorated and admired through our country’s history, was imperfect himself… struggling to make himself better. It makes me feel less alone in my thinking that I can be happier in my daily life, I can be a better person and live a good, humble life.

Anyway, I thought that I would share some thoughts for the day. Happy Sunday to everyone! Feel free to share your thoughts and comments about this or any other topic. I read them all and accept them, as long as they’re not spam.

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~ by wendemachete on January 8, 2012.

2 Responses to “Practice makes perfect and other silly things”

  1. Excellent…good stuff for the brain to chew on. Personally I believe that you use the word “fail” too often. The universe is receiving these thoughts/messages and sending them right back. One thing you could do is to try to drop such negative words from your vocabulary and inner dialogue. Never use “I will not fail” try something like “I will succeed”. I know that these things are easier said than done. Trust me, it’s freakin hard! But it doesn’t hurt to try, you really don’t have anything to loose by doing so. The first revolution of anything begins with a revolution in the mind. Good luck on your journey my friend. May you be successful and happy.

  2. […] Practice makes perfect and other silly things (ayearoflastinghappiness.wordpress.com) […]

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