Friday, 20 May 2016

#9 Embrace Chaos

you can't control everything in your life - let go and embrace a little chaos

I am a Perfectionist - and lately I've come to realize this is not a positive trait - in fact I am a prime candidate for PA (Perfectionists Anonymous). The trouble with perfectionism is that I am always trying to control my world, never making mistakes, never being overwhelmed and never having anything go wrong - chaos is not an option. I'm slowly learning that it is time to embrace some chaos and stop trying to make everything perfect.

There is a wonderful quote from JK Rowling that says "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” Basically, to truly live, we must be prepared to fail at something. We cannot possibly maintain a life of perfectionism, because life doesn't always fit into neat little boxes that can be labelled and filed - it can be messy and unruly and full of new experiences that aren't always what we expect.

I'm in a new job (another new job - long story told briefly HERE) and there are aspects of it the same as my old job, but also lots of new stuff that I am learning on the fly. I'm good at what I do - in fact I'm darn good at what I do, BUT I need to stop expecting to know it all and do it all without giving myself a break. The trouble with being good at something is that you tend to have more and more given to you - which is all good until you implode in a meltdown of your own making.

Sometimes we perfectionists need to cut ourselves a little bit of slack. We need to accept that we will make mistakes, that our ducks won't be in a row (if we're lucky they'll at least be waddling in the same general direction), we need to know it is okay to fail now and then - the world will not grind to a halt because we messed something up.

You can't control everything. You'll be much happier when you stop trying.

Perfectionism is tiring - it makes the hamster on the wheel of my brain run too hard and too fast. A little bit of chaos is not a bad thing in the grand scheme of life. Sometimes it can even make for a good story and a laugh afterwards. Working for a surgeon means that I really want to avoid chaos when it comes to people going under the knife, but leaving something for an hour until it's a bit quieter, or stopping and drinking a cup of coffee before it goes cold (again) is not a bad thing. Earning your pay is noble, killing yourself in the process isn't!

So, Perfectionists of the World Unite! It's time to ease off on ourselves a little and stop and smell a rose here and there (even if we get pricked on a thorn in the process!) Having a dollop of chaos in our lives might be a good thing for us for us to embrace and see if we can live life without holding on to it with such a tight fist.

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you can't control everything in your life - let go and embrace a little chaos

32 comments:

  1. Yes. I push myself too hard a lot and it just backfires.

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    1. perfection is a hard task-mistress at times isn't she?

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  2. I never realised it could be so bad trying to be a perfectionist. But the fear of failure does restrict our options.

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    1. I think perfectionism was promoted as a good thing, but it really isn't - it saps the life out of you over the years.

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  3. This is so true. I struggle with this and, you're right, it's exhausting & you can't control everything. Love the JK Rowling quote.

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    1. We like to think we can control our world don't we? But we're really kidding ourselves - better to go with the flow and relax a little bit I think.

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  4. I was paralyzed by perfection when I was younger. For a while I completely banned the word "perfect" from my life. "There is no such thing as perfect" became my mantra. Finally I realized I was giving the word too much power. It helped me to stop focusing on the end product...whatever that was, but finding pleasure in the process.

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    1. I love the idea of "pleasure in the process" Anna - kind of a "so what" attitude to the end result and a joy in the doing - I'm going to think about that more often :)

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  5. Leanne, I hear you about perfectionism. And as I've learned with myself there's many times fear behind it. If there's always something to "fix" then you never have to deal with actually completing something... and getting feedback. Nice post.

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    1. Thanks Laurie - I think I get my perfectionism from first child syndrome - but I'm doing my best to put that mindset behind me and let things be less than perfect (which they are anyway) and not be upset at myself.

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  6. I agree with you. Being a perfectionist only adds to your stress and detracts from happiness. Accept things as they are warts and all and be more relaxed.

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    1. A great mantra and one that I am doing my best to remember (with occasional lapses!)

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  7. I think you and I are cut from the same cloth. I am trying to let go once in awhile and stop controlling everything. It is HARD!

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    1. It is hard isn't it Michele? I'm not sure how some people manage to find it so easy and I envy them - maybe it'll be easier the more I practice (oh gosh - I'm becoming a perfectionist about not being a perfectionist!)

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  8. So true. Time to smell the roses & the coffee!

    "Practice makes a man perfect."
    "No man is perfect."
    So why practice or try to be perfect? :)
    Perfection

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    1. Roses and coffee both sound perfect to me Anita - and a lot more fun than trying to keep my ducks in a row!

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  9. I am often hard on myself when I am not perfect. My son sees and while I don't expect perfection from him, I can see that he emulates me and is beginning to expect it from himself. When we are learning we all need to cut ourselves some slack. Thanks for sharing on #FridayFrivolity

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    1. I agree Audrey - what we model for our children has a huge impact on them - do we really want them carrying the need to be perfect for the rest of their lives?

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  10. I used to be like that, but after my accident and subsequent disability I learned to let go of a lot of things.

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    1. It's strange how it can take something cataclysmic to make us change our ways isn't it Rena? You do amazingly well for someone who has let stuff go :)

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  11. I agree Leanne we need to back off from trying to be perfect all the time. I actually wrote about failing this week and the fact that it can be a positive in our life. We need to sometimes just let go and breathe I'm sure the world won't end but we will feel better for it.

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    1. I'm starting to figure out that the world keeps turning without me having to micro-manage everything Sue - and if something goes wrong then I'll worry about it later :)

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  12. It is sometimes hard to find that sweet spot between perfectionism and achieving your goals. I think it is important to stand back and reflect and perhaps adjust and pivot from some of those goals and see if the price is worth it.

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    1. I completely agree - goals are wonderful - but not if they come at the expense of a balanced life

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  13. Love the quote by JKRowling. Chaos is not all bad. But I am an organizer and like things clean so I get all what you are saying. I too am learning to make goals and lists and settle everything down in order to start my own chaos.

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    1. I get it Sandy - we have to work within our limits don't we? A little bit of chaos at a time :)

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  14. Hi Leanne,
    I love both your graphics. Your quotes are inspirational. I love Rowling and agree with her quote.
    Thank you for bringing your post to the Blogger's Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

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    1. Thanks Janice - I love it when authors say things that resonate with us - this one was particularly good wasn't it?

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  15. Woot. This post that tell some home truths has been chosen by the Pit Stop Crew to be featured. Congratulations on a fine post.
    Kathleen

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    1. that's fabulous Kathleen! Thanks so much x

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  16. Hi Leanne! Congratulations you are in my top two picks this week again for Over the Moon. Great post as usual so worthy of a feature in my book!

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  17. Well said and you are so right. Progress is important over perfection. Great post and congrats on being the Friday Reflections pick :)

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