Friday, May 02, 2008

Q: What would I have to do if I didn't have to do it perfectly?

After an assault of telephone calls, impossible requests from bosses/co-workers, DHL being the disruptive bastard it wants to be on a Friday, printers refusing to print, a fallen pretzel leaving a gigantic mustard stain on my pants, a mild heat stroke causing me to nearly faint, ate a bad combo of muffin/pretzel/cola causing me violent stomach pains, elbowing the counter tops and smacking my fingers when carrying pretty much anything today, running from the office side to side doing more than one job (somebody was sick), and nearly falling down a flight of stairs pretending to air guitar.


Here's an interesting theory on perfectionism taken from the book a dear 65 year-old woman/pal/co-worker lent me called The Artist Way (it's a bit arty so bear with me) and probably soon will become my motto. It helped me feel less stressed I guess you could say.


"Tillie Olsen correctly calls it the "knife of perfectionist attitude in art". You may call it something else. Getting it right, you may call it, or fixing it before I go further. You may call it having standards. What you should be calling it is perfectionism. Perfectionism has nothing to with getting it right. It has nothing to do with standards. Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop--- an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole. Instead of creating freely and allowing errors to reveal themselves later as insights, we often get mired in getting the details right. We correct our originality into a uniformity that lacks passion and spontaneity. "Do not fear mistakes," Miles Davis told us. "There are none."



Dig said...

Sounds like you had a rough day, and that's a pretty neat theory you borrowed.

sarah said...

Thanks. It was hard not to feel attacked by the office today but as soon as I stepped foot into the 75 degree weather I was on easy street!

Dig said...

Hah! I see you also found time to fix your typos.

Also, I finally got around to checking out the last two songs you posted. Good stuff.

Robin said...

First, yeah on the work shit. I can hear you. I spend my day answering the buzzer, having people try to interrupt me when I'm on the phone to ask me if there's more toilet paper, DHLing, and doing my regular job. Dealing with lots of paper and boxes, I hear you on the hand injuries. You are not alone. Sucks about the mustard stain. I love the theory on perfectionism. Sometimes, it holds us up. I can spend many hours on some minute detail which means nothing, then realize I've wasted my time. What am I saying? I don't know - but I do know & agree with that old stupid saying about life being about the journey and not the destination, so I don't waste my time dusting, that's for sure!

dean said...

I'm picturing you at work totally distracting everyone doing Chevy Chase pratfalls and wrecking the place.