Would you Rather be Perfect…or Real?

by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. on 08/07/2013

image via commons.wikimedia.org

Once upon a time, performers were required to actually reveal their talents when they performed.  There was no lip synching or Autotune or multi-media enhancements to enhance or obscure their own efforts. Back in days of yore, if someone faked it — be it the National Anthem or a Milli Vanilli pop tune — it was a scandal. Not so much any more.

Nowadays the world seems split between wanting things to be perfect — and wanting them to be real.  Some folks prefer electronically enhanced products.  (Seriously, would you rather hear Adam Levine sing off-key or would you prefer your Maroon 5 offerings Autotuned)?  Others prefer to hear their performers actually perform — warts and all. It can be thrilling to see someone with real musicianship flex their talents. Yet any real live performance involves risks or possible mistakes — a missed cue, a wayward note, a forgotten lyric.

It’s up to the artist — and the audience — to decide what’s most important to them.  Do you want to experience a ‘perfect’ packaged product — or do you want to witness what a performer can really do?

Beyonce is a well documented perfectionist.  She has a climate-controlled personal archive documenting every moment of her life and every media mention of her.  Should an unflattering photo materialize, her publicist has it yanked. She lip synched the National Anthem at President Obama’s 2012 inauguration lest any note go amiss.  Now this is someone who can actually sing…but chose to fake it to avoid the risk of imperfections.

Fellow perfectionist Barbra Streisand stopped giving concerts for YEARS for fear of flubbing the lyrics.

If you are someone with perfectionistic tendencies — if you are hard of yourself, picky, have sky-high standards — one question to ask yourself:  would you rather be ‘perfect’…or real?

What does it cost you to strive for perfection? What does it cost the people around you?  How does it affect your personal and professional relationships?

Does your audience even *want* perfection?  Would your customers be happier with something a little rougher around the edges, if they could have it more quickly or with less drama?

As DaVincis,  we’ve got a lot of projects, ideas and talents on the go.  It’s impossible to be perfect in everything we do.  Striving for perfection in multiple domains is stressful if not crazy-making.

One solution is to aim for ‘real’, rather than ‘perfect’.  To survey your talents and present them authentically.  To focus on creating something that truly reflects you — rather than a glossy product that obscures your true voice.

Perfection isn’t possible.  Instead, why not aim to communicate what’s unique about you?  Whatever you’re doing — be it a designing a book jacket or devising a business plan — you have a capacity to imbue your own perspective, experience and talents.

That’s the key:  rather than focusing on unattainable perfection, aim to reveal your real essence.

Whatever you’re working on, ask:  Am I representing or communicating what’s unique about me?  Focus on what’s real, rather than perfection.


For more, check out my book Overcoming Perfectionism:  Solutions for Perfectionists available here: http://bit.ly/PerfectionismSolutions


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Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/ .

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