Fighting Perfectionism

If there were a flaw that I would observe about myself, I think it would be this. That I am someone who thinks a little too much about what other people think.

What this means sometimes is that I tend to not want to release things because I fear that they won’t be appreciated, people won’t like them, or anything else of that nature.

And granted, that doesn’t happen across everything. If it’s just an Instagram story, for example, I just enjoy releasing dumb, interesting things that reflect the different random things that happen during the course of the day.

But when it comes to more extended creative projects, I think that I am restrained in some ways by feeling that everything needs to be perfect.

Everything needs to somehow just match up with the best. And in some ways, that is kind of negative, because if you were to just try for things that aren’t always good, if you’re a new perfectionist, then what ends up happening is that, sure, you might end up creating a good product, but what will probably happen also is that you’ll just not release anything.

And believe me, that does happen quite a fair bit for me. I am the kind of person who tends to hem to haw, to just kind of let things go by because I think, “Oh, it’s not ready. Oh, I shouldn’t release this. Oh, more needs to be done.”

And that’s just my nature. I tend to be pretty careful with a lot of different things.

But at the same time, I’d like to try to get past that and I think that that can happen in at least two different ways.

One is that I reach a level of ability whereby the things that I do end up matching what I consider to be a nice standard. Maybe that’s a bit of a cop-out because that requires me to get to a certain level whereby pretty much anything I say or do just becomes acceptable as a creative product. It’s not really that sort of change of heart that I was kind of going at along the way earlier, but it’s one possibility, really.

I genuinely believe that people who can produce prodigiously, many of them are at that level partly because I think that that is the level that I would need to be at.

Maybe that’s a limiting belief.

Maybe in reality, the vast majority of the things that people make out there in this world are just not particularly good.

Maybe I’m just a little too self-concerned, conceited, caught up in my own thinking when actually there’s no enemy.

But who knows?

What’s for sure is that there is a sort of limiting belief that has been operating in my life, and I think it’s a good time to let it go – one of the reasons why I’m treating this website sort of as a group therapy session at the moment.

But in the future, I do genuinely hope that somehow or another, a little part of me is going to change. A little part of me is going to transform. A little part of me is just going to develop that skill, that pride, that recognition of something worthwhile to share. Maybe so worthwhile that it doesn’t matter even if I come out imperfect, even if it’s not ready, whatever – Because what matters most is the contribution and not perfection.

Who knows? Anyway, life has been interesting, and I’m kind of looking forward to what’s coming up here and there. So many different things to update, lots of ideas to share along, and a whole range of things I never thought that I would ever experience.

I’m very grateful for what the universe has brought, what it brings, and what it will continue to bring. Let’s just put it there.

Time and Existential Risk

Time is the ultimate existential risk. 

I know this not just from deferring to the vague idea of theory or of an arcane book somewhere. It’s something that I’ve experienced deeply and intimately from my own struggling with the realities of procrastination in a world that seems to tolerate it on the surface, but only because I wasn’t able to appreciate what that procrastination brought about, the end of many different things, on timescales that I did not appreciate and therefore could not apprehend. 

Now the thing is, as a child, you maybe don’t appreciate that time is passing. Far from it. When you’re in the midst of school, it feels least like time is passing. In boring afternoon lectures, it can feel like the entire moment has lasted more than a lifetime plus some change. And still, the teacher is there yapping about something that you don’t really care too much about. 

All of us understand in life that all things come to an end. 

Human lifespans are finite, averaging 72.6 years according to the WHO in 2019, with exceptions like Japan at 84.5, Singapore at 83.9, and Monaco at 89.4. The average career is 40 years. 

School concludes in no more than 6 years at elementary level, 5 years in secondary. It kinda depends what kind of schooling system you go for and where you were born, but that doesn’t really matter. From school, maybe you work, or if you’re lucky enough, you go on to university. Then poof, 4 years later, maybe you graduate, get a new degree, and so on so forth – but in the moment, it feels like you were engaging with a distant theoretical concept, and the temptation draws us in to believe a quixotic ideal:

“This moment will last forever.”

But it will not.

Though you may feel that it will last forever, you will see that the whole affair was much shorter than you think. 

That was high school for me. A time that felt like infinity, but that somehow turned into vague memories of the past – something so far away that it feels like it was only a theoretical existence.

If I were to generalize, time is the ultimate existential risk because time brings everything to an end. 

Without question, whether you’re young or old, there will one day come a time when you too will die. In the long run, all there is is death. In the longer run, perhaps beyond the end of the expansion of species, potential nuclear wars and maybe other sorts of conundrums and fracas as well, there will lie the death of our sun. And beyond the death of our sun, in its eventual outburn of hydrogen, rendering human life, existence, love, hatred, on our pale blue dot into the whisper of nothingness into the ear of the universe, then will come the eventual death of the galaxy alike. And when we take the timescale slider all the way to the right, moving beyond the horizons of the past and into a future so distant that none of us could possibly ever experience it, there we shall see, at the close of the metaphorical curtains that circumscribe an infinitely expanding universe, the heat death that attends the logical consequence of entropy taken to ultimate limit.

The practical time constraints, though, take place over smaller and more seemingly trivial time scales that seem petty in the universal yet are infinitely meaningful in the everyday.

At different times and decision points, we often have to make decisions that are crucial, that determine the entire future course of our lives, career, relationships, the people we talk to, the people we choose not to talk to – the events that take place in the days, the months, the hours that we spend in the course of a waking day: All these things influence the opportunities, moments, encounters, people that we meet along the way on this strange and wonderful journey of life. 

In a personal capacity, I don’t look towards things that are especially grand. I have no dynastic vision of being enshrined forever in the universe’s collective memory. 

In this limited time that I have upon Earth, I think I would want to follow the resonance of my soul. Within the set of all possible resonances, though, I can see the multiverse split into a million different parts, which in turn split into a million different parts, many of which involve me pointing at the absurdity of thinking purely on the scale of trillions, when in reality, that multiverse is infinite. At the same time, though, I imagine that some of those universals will involve me taking a different tack and simply looking forward to the more meaningful thoughts, ideas, and and notions in a life that I hope won’t be a constant running away from time and its logical consequences. 

In the upcoming days, and through this dance with time, there are a few things I hope to do. 

One of them is to move fast, to develop the ability to get things done efficiently in order to save the time that I otherwise would want for a hundred different other things. Video editing, traveling, hanging out with friends, spending time with family, all of those cool experiences that make up the entirety of a meaningful life. I hope to get work done quickly and also high in quality to make sure that the scope of my ambitions and goals can come to fruition over the timescales that determine their binary success and with better coordination. 

So many things go into that. Organizational skills, the discipline to persist even when it feels uncomfortable, and the strength to be resilient, adapt, be vulnerable, and to know that there are so many things that aren’t perfect about the way that we are going about life. 

At the end of the day though, time’s reality remains, whatever machinations, efficiencies, ideas, or thoughts should come into play. 

But I would hope in my heart of hearts though that at the very least, one thing will be true: That at the end of the day, when I take into account all the moments that had passed, that somehow I would think that all of it had been worth it, that the journey had been worthwhile, the process was meaningful, the memories were great, and that somehow or another every single moment was a moment that was meaningful, even if it was not joyful, even if it was not the greatest of happinesses. 

I think that’s about the most that a person can ask for in this timeline. To be able to look back at it all and say, wow, that was pretty cool. It’s kind of unclear where things will head towards in the finality of my moments because those are far from here. 

But for all we know, maybe this helped to set the direction.

Sleep In Progress

I lie in bed, my eyes are closed.

My over-caffeinated heart is beating, “Thud, thud, thud, thud, thud” in the depths of a chest that will not rest.

This is the fruit that has grown from the coffee after a joyous evening, reminding me that not all that is pleasant is desirable and not all that is enjoyable yields longer term joy.

It doesn’t help that the sound of laughter repeats from outside my window, innocuous at best at 10am but odious at 1am – a one digit separation, but a universe apart.

The judgmental part of me considers the inconsiderate neighbors and their inconsiderate family members just casually laughing away with no thought for anyone whom they may affect, and somehow in a flash, it dawns upon me:

This is the nature of true evil.

Evil, in all likelihood, is not callous nor is it particularly malicious.

It’s just the result of doing what feels right at a particular time, feeling that one is justified, with no deeper meaning underpinning it.

I don’t suppose that my neighbors have a particular wish for me to experience sleep deprivation. No, rather they wish merely to enjoy their weekend. Does it mean that I am unaffected by what they are doing? No, by no means. I certainly am affected. That is why I am lying in bed right now, talking to myself.

I think this characterizes most evil in this world. The consequence of people simply just following their self-interest in ways that they justify.

“I was so tired the entire week.”

“I need to celebrate.”

“We’re all together right now. Why shouldn’t we make as much noise as we want?”

“It’s just for the weekend. Surely they will understand.”

But I don’t.

I don’t think that there is anything particularly noble, wonderful, or celebratory about this whole coincidence of things because it is an unambiguous negative to be awake at 1am, but if there is anything that I do know, it’s that at the very least, this harangue has made me think and this thinking is of the somewhat beneficial sort – the sort that makes me hope that it will remain as something when I wake up in the morning rather than something ephemeral, passing, gone in the puddle’s evaporation from the sunlight of consciousness.

That’s the kind of thing that I’d like, I guess, from this next era of my life. If it’s vague, know that it’s not coincidence. The thing is an era where things become tangible, they have a form – where whispers and thoughts come to life in the concrete, the accepted, the things not rejected out of hand simply because I hadn’t planned them out well.

So here I am, wondering to myself, in the midst of this noisome disturbance, praying for sleep. Will there be a time when every single thought that comes from my head will find itself in the form of a living memory that stands the test of time, even as I resist my urge to edit, reframe, consider again?

As I pray for the evil to come to an end, these are the thoughts that my soul will rest with as I pass from the conscious waking world into the velvet room of dreams.