If you’re at all like me, you’ve caught yourself saying this to yourself all too often, “Damn, I suck”. I often struggle with the idea of perfection. I find myself diving into any project 100% with no room for error or interruptions. It’s this “all or nothing” attitude which in the past I have attributed to becoming the person I am and the success I have seen in my life. Though in reality, it took me a long time to realize that if I had chosen balance over all in, I would actually be much further along in my life in every aspect.
There’s an old saying I used to love that goes “It’s easy to do something 100%, but it’s impossible to do something 99%.” That saying has stuck with me for a long time. The problem with that though is that all along I was looking at it from the wrong angle. It’s silly how you can hear something that just makes so much sense to you right away but only understand it years later.
This saying is referring to going all in on something. A goal, a workout, a diet, or job. Going all in and giving it your 100%. Not only that, but it also is saying that if you do not go all in on something, you won’t be able to accomplish it at all.
Now I used to take this saying so literally that it made me a failure at too many things. When I was in a band, I went all in. Did whatever I had to do to push the band forward. Sacrificed hanging out with friends outside the band, put my family on the back burner, put my relationships on delay, got into debt to purchase the best of the best equipment, practiced 3-5 times a week, played shows when possible, and got into fights with good friends about what we should and should not be doing. Life was all about the band, and then suddenly one day, it wasn’t.
I wanted to get into shape and look great so I went all in. Spent tons of money on protein powder and other supplements, went to the gym 6 days a week for 2-3 hours a day. Then I would get burnt out, gain it all back, get super frustrated with myself, Say to myself “Damn, I suck” and get back to the gym and do it all over again.
If you can’t see a trend yet then you are even worse than I was. Obviously what was happening in my life is that I would get so consumed by the things that I wanted to accomplish that I would go 100 miles an hour until the wheels spun off.
The problem about this saying is that when taken literally, it demands perfection. It demands unwavering absolute dedication. Well in a perfect world where nothing in life happens to you that you can’t control that may be actually do able, but not in this one.
I would get so caught up in this idea of perfection. This idea of laser focus and stability. Like as if I could set myself on auto pilot mode and I would just be able to get through a couple months of my life with no emotions or thought. Eye on the prize, nothing else mattered. When I would unsurprisingly fail because I am not actually a robot, I would feel like such a loser. I couldn’t wrap my head around why I couldn’t just make myself do something that I ultimately wanted to do. I would get so down that I would slingshot in the opposite direction. I would binge eat for weeks on end and not workout once. I just felt like it was too hard, like ‘why bother?’ mentality.
What have I learned from years and years of doing this?
That answer is two fold.
First, just because you are committed to something, even 100%, it doesn’t have to consume your life. You still need to make time for family, friends and most importantly yourself.
Second, perfection is literally unattainable so cut yourself some slack. Like for real, big deal if you skipped out on a workout to spend time with friends or family. Big deal if you missed a project deadline. Big deal if you went on vacation and ate like garbage the whole time. It truly is one of the hardest things I have had to learn in this life, it’s okay to just let go. The important thing, the stuff that really matters is that you continue to try and continue to put in effort when possible. It really is okay that you missed a workout this week, whats not okay is to miss all of them. It’s okay to over eat on a night out with your significant other, it’s not okay to over eat every day of the week.
At the end of the day, what you do consistently is what makes you who you are. Just take a second to think of all the meals you have had the last month, all the times you have over eaten. All the fast food and desserts and sodas. When I look back to when I was eating like that it amazes me that I never got bigger than I did. I was consistently eating garbage and my body, energy and mind resembled that.
So do me a favor..
Next time you tell yourself “Damn, I suck”. Remember that it’s okay to fail and it’s okay to not be perfect. Just keep driving towards your goals and if you do that consistently over a long period of time you will get to where you want to be.
You’re not getting any younger.