The fourth week of the of the Michael Flynn Mentor Entrepreneur Academy was jam-packed with value and information that is so important and so crucial that it will be unpardonably arrogant of me and an equal expression of sheer negligence by me; to merely write a solitary article with regard to the copious amounts of information dispensed ever so freely, during the entirety of this life-changing 5 hour session. Some of the topics discussed in day four include Marketing and Branding, Perfectionism and Numbers. In this article we will touch on perfectionism then we shall subsequently progress on to the foremost then the lattermost topics.
This must have been the most impactful day of the seminar yet in terms of provision of value and a lot of varied topics were discussed and analyzed, some more in-depth than others. This article and others such as this will seek to expound some of the themes discussed during the seminar and provide an in-depth dissection of Michael Flynn’s teachings.
One of the most impactful moments during the entire talk started out as a question, “How many of you are perfectionists?” He asked raising his right arm reassuringly while scanning the room in his thoughtful and yet ever so powerful gaze. I raised my hand. I alongside nine other individuals in the room. I have always been an unabashed perfectionist. It has never been a cause of shame in my life, on the contrary, it has always been a source of great pride for me. In a great sense, it was a plain, physical, manifestation of my very own vanity. Perfectionism, I felt, was my defining trait, my very own divinely bestowed characteristic that separates me from the common herd. My competitive advantage. So you can imagine how confused I felt when Michael Flynn advocated for a paradigm shift from this type of ideology. He advocated instead for a sort of “good enough” Aristotelian golden mean ideology, which was at least according to my thoughts at that time, an anathema and completely antithetical to my beliefs. Beliefes that I thought were firmly grounded in the well-drained fertile soils of my very own life experience. Beliefs, which I thought were responsible for the significant amount of successes, that I have been able to accrue so far in my relatively young existence. Therefore, my dear readers, this article ventures deep into the relatively untraversed labyrinthine of preconceived notions and ideologies, right or wrong, but common nonetheless; and juxtaposes it with the teachings of Michael Flynn during this particular session in order to illuminate for us a right way in relation to this matter. The Michael Flynn Mentor way.
“Don’t be a perfectionist, it stresses you. It stresses your team 80% is usually good enough, the last 20% costs too much.”—Michael Flynn Mentor
Perfectionism can be referred to as the unreasonable and the self-defeating ambition of getting something absolutely right which makes us difficult to be around and punishing to live with. The origins of perfectionism lie in the imagination, in the ease with which we can conjure up a picture of an ideal state of affairs compared with the monstrous difficulty of bringing such a state into being by ourselves. The sickness of perfectionism thrives in the fertile gap between our noble visions and our painfully mediocre realities. And yet our problems do not ultimately arise just in our love of perfection. They lie on our reckless tendencies to under budget for the difficulties of achieving perfection. The proper target for gentle criticism is premature perfectionism. How accurately we budget for time and effort is always dependent on a proper grasp of the inherent difficulty of any task.
“Business is NOT being 100% better than the other guy. It is being 1% better at 100 things.” —Michael Flynn Mentor
Deferred Happiness and the Emotional Perils of Perfectionism
“Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want”
—Michael Flynn Mentor
The paradox of perfectionism is unlike living a virtuous life in which we strive to be the best that we can be and we view mistakes as mini milestones along the road to our success. Perfectionists strive to be flawless in every way and they come to see their mistakes not as simple mistakes which they are but as deeply embedded character flaws. It’s not even that they’ve made the mistake it is that they are the mistake. To paraphrase the thoughts of the incredible author Ann Lamont that coincides perfectly with Michael Flynn Mentor on Fear of Failure and the Parent Critic —Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor and will keep you cramped and insane your entire life. Perfectionism leads us to make the mistake of deferred happiness in which our happiness is tied towards perfection, nothing less would do. This ends up creating instances of panic attacks and depressions simply because we are not able to achieve the great goals that we have set for our selves. If we stopped trying to be perfect so many of us will get off the sidelines of life and jump into the fray and start living life with both feet and with an open heart. I believe if we stopped thinking about perfection we could finally overcome this hatred and negative talk about others and about ourselves because we get to silence that inner critic (parent critic) that inner judge and we begin to start living our imperfect lives out loud.
“The mistake of DEFERRED Happiness
When I GET that GOAL, I will be Happy. Instead of I am happily enjoying the JOURNEY of BECOMING More on my path to SUCCESS”
—Michael Flynn Mentor
There is an intrinsic fear that the perfectionist forever burdens himself /herself with. Forever trudging on, anxiously, fearing to make a mistake, but according to Michael Flynn Mentor’s teaching, we fail our way to success….it is through failure that we get there. Failure and mistakes are not negative aspects in themselves but simply a feedback loop necessary for one to know how to optimize the system for better more optimal results. We should aim for the good enough—optimalist approach as advocated by Michael Flynn Mentor, instead of trudging on seeking for the elusive concept of perfection.
“Mistakes are the doorway to discovery.”
—Michael Flynn Mentor
Perfectionists are terrified of making mistakes and are threatened by the success of others, whereas optimalists see mistakes as proof that they are trying and are inspired by others who are doing great things to achieve great things also. Mistakes are not negatives in themselves but opportunities to reach up and ask for help, opportunities to get down and dig in and understand the true depth of our resilience; opportunities to stretch the belief and knowledge of just how much we are capable as human beings, and most importantly encourage others to do the same.
Mistake your way to success, start making mistakes now. Become that person now.”—Michael Flynn Mentor
If we fully recognize something to be exceptionally difficult we don’t panic when our first efforts are weak and progress slow. It is difficult but we knew it would be. High standards only become a problem when we think that something might or at least ought to be substantially easier than it eventually ends up being. It becomes a problem when we read our struggles as marks of our own ineptitude rather than as an inevitable part of our legitimately lengthy journey. Perfectionism is only a problem because we have underbudgeted for difficulty not because we are aiming high. Many of us imagine having established a good career by 30; having a successful marriage relatively spontaneously with immediate ease. As Michael Flynn Mentor teaches us, perfectionism starts to torture us when we lack information on just how hard others had to work and how much they had to suffer before reaching their ideas of perfection. In a better world, culture would endlessly draw our attention to the first drafts and the hidden labors of other people and properly alert us to the true horrors exerted by anything worth doing. We would not then be so impatient and such sickly perfectionists. We would be patient resilient questers for excellence. The problem isn’t that we are aiming for perfection, it is that we don’t have an accurately redemptive picture of it or as Elizabeth Gilbert rightly said, “Perfectionism is just fear in really good shoes.”
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