Wasn’t it always what it is today?
It wasn’t until 1755 when Samuel Johnson published the Dictionary of the English Language – thereby giving teachers something else to do. Not only could they have classes on proper spelling, but when it came time to read what you’ve written, they had the power to punish for “errors” having nothing to do with the content of what you wrote.
Whey to go, Samuel Johnson. Er, way to go. Uh, or is it … weigh to go.
Now we have a great way to prove someone’s lack of intellect.
“If you can’t spell – you’re stupid.”
You’d be amazed to know that some of the brightest minds EVER – either had trouble spelling – or were a bit avante garde –
making their lack of standardized spelling a hallmark of their whit and whizdom.
Believe me, it taketh guts to stand on your own and demand that your whey is the highweigh.
Hopefully some of you can now breathe a bit easier as others reading this message get livid with rage. How dare I contradict
260 years of being right all the time?
Well, as Rodney Dangerfield would say, “Who died and made you pope of this dump?” Or, who decided that Samuel Johnson
was the decider?
Anyway, this leads me to the central point of today’s lesson – and that is… Perfectionism is Bad Medicine.
Really, it is.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s no good to be perfect, if you can. What I’m saying is “don’t strive for perfection.” If you do, you’re going to be uptight, tense and full of frustration almost all the time.
If you’re striving for perfection – you miss the value of your mistakes.
You fail to learn from them because “they’re bad.”
Not at all. Mistakes are nothing but corrective feedback that lead you to a better way of doing what you’re working on.
Each morning when I practice Tai Chi – I have moments where I’m thrilled with how well I execute a technique. But most everything I do can be a lot better. Yes, I make mistakes every day I train – and when I work on correcting them, I get better, and that’s all that matters.
Making small incremental improvements each day is powerful, healing medicine. Even if the improvment is only a nanometer better.
If, on the other hand, I try NOT to make any mistakes, then that’s the biggest mistake of all. It’ll cause me to make more.
When you try too hard to be precise, you end up failing to enjoy
what you’re doing.
If you have something to say – just say it.
If you have something to write – just write it.
Something to do – just do it.
Then review what you did – and make it better next time. Not by trying to be perfect, but by being AWARE of what you’re doing as you’re doing it. In short, relax and pay attention – nothing more – and you’ll get better fast.
Again, the analogy of a baby.
Suppose when a baby is learning to walk, we continually correct her. “Nope Jenny, you need to stay balanced. Don’t move too fast too soon. Put one foot down then the other. Keep your head straight, etc. etc.”
Sounds ridiculous, but the baby does an allright job figuring out this walking thing. On her own she self-corrects.
Is she trying to be pefect? No. She’s just working on walking and intuitively making adjustments until she’s got it.
As for writing, when you’ve got something to say – just write what’s on your mind. When you’re done, you can look it over and make edits. Not before.
At that point you can decide, am I going to leaf these misspellingz hear – or am I going to correckt them?
Oh yes, I’m leafing all the mistakes in the foregoing sentence as iz.
Same for this won.
Butt, when I’m putting a book together, that might be the time to fix the mistakes. Especially if Samuel Johnson is grading me.
So make your mistakes – stay neural about them. Relax and breathe and stay aware as you continue to practice. That’s powerful medicine, my friend. And a whole lot easier to swallow than perfectionism.
P.S. Hey, if you’re into wrestling, grappling, Tai chi and so on – come to my seminar February 28. Click here for more info.