Always Underdo. Perfection Is Death.

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Mediocre Excellence

Always underdo. Conserve your energy. Save your strength.

Hard left swipe on the advice of people (most often women — yes, this is blatant gender stereotyping, but this isn’t a “Family Guy” moment either; we’re not doing this for laughs: we’re fighting a worthy cause) who overdo, overdecorate, over-try, who insist on maximum effort for minimum gain at minimum speed, who live that “hostess with the mostest” life.

Done is better than good. Run through your SRS reps quickly. Don’t do a good job, do a job, and let “well” mostly take care of itself.

Do not kill the golden goose that is your energy. Save some. People will make fun of you, accuse you of being lazy. But, I kid you not, of the nine or ten people (eight girls and two guys) that I can think of who’ve made the most fun of me for being an energy miser, one had a heart attack, another contracted cancer in her twenties, and six of the remaining eight had nervous breakdowns within a couple of years of mocking my “slow burn” methods.

Anecdotal? Sure. Not a controlled experiment? Definitely. Look, I’m not out here trying to prevent people vaccinating their children (a painfully bad idea if ever there was one), I’m just saying, if you try too hard, if you make it so that nothing you do is good enough, then nothing (i.e. project abandonment, burnout, illness and other more or less universally undesirable things) is exactly what you’re gonna get.

Am I saying that depriving yourself of quantity (not just quality, but quantity) of sleep, and abusing your time, your body and your mind will make you ill? Not in so many words. We needn’t come down that hard. Some people no doubt thrive on pain and suffering. Let’s just say that, all else being equal, the probabilities will be tipped in a bad direction.

Have low standards. Have wide standards. Breathe. Stay in the game. Stay alive. Don’t be good. Just show up. It’s far more important to practice writing hiragana at all, than it is to write them well! Again, don’t be good. Just show up. Good will take care of herself; she’s a big girl. She a strong, independent woman what don’t need nobody.

Don’t be good. Just show up.

Doing matters more than doing well. It’s about progress, not perfection. Improving yourself, not proving yourself. Progress is a real thing that real people can do. Sufficiently accumulated progress is excellence. Excellence is the natural result of the concatenation of progress. We should all desire excellence; it is possible for all of us. Perfection, on the other hand, is death. Perfection is death. Perfection is only for things and people that are dead or died trying.

Only dead things are perfect. We fuss over the “correct” way of wearing a kimono because kimono-wearing is no longer a living, breathing, changing, flexible, dynamic cultural practice. It’s a gesture now. Pure performance art. Kimonos don’t get dirty any more; they just get dusty and moth-eaten. That may change, but not as long as we seek perfection.

Don’t let the moths eat away at your perfect projects. Get them dirty and used. Bring them to life; wear them like comfy shoes.
#immersion #SRS

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  2 comments for “Always Underdo. Perfection Is Death.

  1. NC
    February 24, 2019 at 06:14

    Needed this, thank you Khatz! What are you up to nowadays? Always thinking about where you are on this beautiful earth now. Couldn’t thank you enough.

  2. NC
    February 25, 2019 at 07:39

    Thanks

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