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5. Don’t Strive to Achieve Perfection

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist. Without imperfection, neither you nor me would exist.”

Stephen Hawking

Supposing that you were successful in previous steps of our program dedicated to growing your mind, this means that you’ve managed to become self-aware, be more objective towards yourself, make healthier life decisions, and fight your saboteurs.

You deserve a round of applause and should be proud of yourself!

Now you need to take the ultimate step.

You should aim to avoid falling into a dangerous trap of thinking that you’re better than others and wanting to be perfect since you’ve seen that you can adequately manage yourself. Usually, external people and situations are more easily controlled when you learn how to handle yourself.

Consequently, you get the impression that you’re omnipotent. It comes automatically, and it’s not easy to get rid of. You might think that you’re stronger, smarter, and more successful than others.

Celebrities and highly successful people, such as actors, singers, politicians, athletes, or business people often fall into this trap.

Although most of them never master the first four steps in achieving good mental skills, they give out the impression that they have done so, this is due to great professional success and the public’s enthusiasm that idealizes them.

They start thinking that they’re omnipotent and that ordinary life restrictions don’t apply to them. They allow themselves to enter into risky activities and relationships.

That’s why we often read in the newspapers that these people (whom we all envy for their seemingly perfect life) have many problems: they take drugs, are depressed, experience accidents and public incidents, and have financial and emotional issues.

Paparazzi take their photos in situations where they misbehave, are in a bad mood, or are drunk. They’re represented in a light that’s the complete opposite of their glamorous pictures on social media.

If you allow yourself to think that you’re above others, you’ll surely fall into the same trap.

In ancient Greece and Rome, the idea that you were above others was considered as one of the greatest sins, and they called it Hubris. We could translate it as Vanity.

We’re sure you remember the famous myth about Icarus’ flight. When Icarus managed to fly with the wings made by his father, he imagined that he could fly as high as the Sun itself, which ended with his descent and drowning into the sea.

This myth metaphorically describes a person who “took off” so high that they imagine being the only “source of light” in their environment. Then they become too arrogant, reckless, insufficiently self-critical, and take too many risks.

It usually happens that they “drown” in some misfortune, financial failure, illness, or vice, which have the goal of “returning” them to the world of people and reminding them that they aren’t perfect and immortal.

As you can see from the examples above, you can’t be perfect. You can have that impression, but you mustn’t identify with it.

Why should you not identify with the idea that you’re perfect?

Because each one of us is a human being with our own virtues and flaws.

The purpose of your life is to become conscious of the unconscious talents that you should develop and the unconscious flaws that you should master and integrate into your conscious life.

You may be able to get rid of some flaws, but most of them will remain a part of you. They’ll just no longer damage your life as they did before.

What would it look like to become aware of, accept and integrate your shortcomings but not fall into the trap of being perfect?

Let’s answer this question with the following example.

Impulsivity can be a flaw that you aren’t aware of. Because of that, you’re unconsciously able to make hasty decisions and suddenly change the direction of your life.

These situations include:

  • falling in love with a person you met on vacation and breaking a long-term stable relationship
  • quitting a job you’re happy with just because you quarreled with your boss
  • skiing on dangerous slopes, even though you haven’t completely mastered the easier ones, etc.

Your life looks like a reality show, turbulent and unstable because of impulsiveness and because of projections you aren’t aware of, as you constantly blame others for your own mistakes.

And that’s how you can live your whole life. Unfortunately, you won’t realize your true potential because they require persistence and tact, which you don’t have as an impulsive person.

Of course, because of this modus operandi, you’ll feel generally frustrated and dissatisfied.

However, if you become aware of this flaw and accept it as your own even though you don’t like it, you can start monitoring yourself with the Observing Ego when you get the urge to be impulsive.

When you notice you have that urge, you consciously don’t allow yourself to react that way. Having a desire for something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it.

Instead of making hasty decisions, you should take a break and block out time before making any decisions.

For instance, you could play a sport, meditate, have a talk with a friend, or do anything that gets you out of the impulsive urge.

When the “attack of impulsivity” passes, you can return to the issue you want to handle and analyze it with your Observing Ego.

That will give you more objectivity when determining whether the previous impulsive plan still seems to be the best approach to that particular issue, or whether other better solutions may require more patience and persistence from your side.

You should distinguish between decisions that bring only temporary relief, but in the long run also bring remorse, from the decisions that require more extended effort, but also bring good long-term results.

Thus, you’re still impulsive, and you’ll probably be like that your entire life. But if impulsivity is conscious, you can master it. You don’t have to allow yourself to react impulsively when facing important life decisions. You’ll have it under your conscious control.

Being good enough is the real purpose of life, not perfect. If you’re good enough and not perfect, it indicates you have some flaws and not only virtues. Knowing this keeps you humble and protects you from falling into the Hubris trap.

As the introductory quote suggests, perfection doesn’t exist. We should strive for it, but at the same time, we should know that it can’t and shouldn’t be achieved if we want to be humans.

Since you’ve taken the steps that need to be taken in mastering the skills of achieving a healthy mindset, all you need to do is apply them in practice.

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