How my MLA changed my perspective on perfectionism

I have been a perfectionist all my life. I always wanted everything I put my hands on to be perfect. The challenge was to understand what that would be. And, although I considered perfectionism as one of my strengths, I also pointed it as flaw… most times perfectionism would delay me, would compromise other important aspects of my life, would absorb me so much I would see time escaping…

My first manager used to tell me:

“The perfect is enemy of the good.”

I thought I got it but I didn’t really get it. I didn’t get the essence of it. Of what he was trying to tell me. So I kept being a perfectionism seeker. At work. At home. In everything I did. How exhausting. How stressful. What a waste of my precious time, most of the times.  There were so many more meaningful things I could be doing. It wasn’t until deep in my MLA, that I started to relax. Before, although there was nothing to prove to anyone, theoretically,  I was still attached to structure, to what it should be, to perfect plans, to a beautiful itinerary, to the optimal timeline. Why? No! Exactly!

Long conversations with friends I’ve made along the way have helped me come to this realization. And the tipping point was a few days ago, while dowloading a file from a computer, when this beautiful quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry popped up straight into my eyes:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

So true. So liberating. So beautiful.

Right now:

> When looking for perfection I always ask myself: is there anything left to take away? If not, then it is perfect!

> I stopped sticking with what I thought was the perfect plan. With the blog post structure I had in mind. With the timelines I had defined for my journey. With the countries on my itinerary. And because of that, yesterday, I completely altered my route. And I acknowledge it is highly probable that it keeps changing… or, maybe better put, evolving. Getting closer to what I need it to be. And that might mean less countries. Revisiting the same ones. Meeting less people. Spending more time with the ones that deeply touch my life. If everything that makes me happy and grow right now is on this side of the world, why go elsewhere? If there is nothing left to take away, why keep adding?

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Canggu Beach, Bali, Indonesia

My arms are not straight. My cartwheel could use some improvement. But the truth is, I love this picture and there is nothing I would change about it. It definitely captures my new perspective on perfectionism.


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