Squirrely Ideas on (not) Being Perfect
Do you hold yourself to high standards? If so, I salute you! Keeping a keen eye on excellence and continuous improvement is an awesome-sauce recipe for positive progress. Now let me ask you another question…are your personal standards reasonable? That’s the ass-kicker, right? This is something that’s been nagging my noodle lately. It’s also what prompted this post about squirrel lessons and the misconceptions about being perfect.
To explain, I’ve been busy as a bee writing content for my 2 & 3rd jobs, plus adding new quality articles on my websites daily. I’m also crushing the keyboard while writing a new book I’m developing for you sweet peeps.
While I’m certainly producing a ton of stuff…and I believe I’m working with a focus on excellence..I sometimes find myself in a vicious cycle of browbeating about my results. I ask myself, “Is this really good enough? Is this work up to my standards?” Sometimes my efforts feel (or appear, to me) mediocre, and that’s something I just can’t live with very well.
Perfection is a Myth (Duh. You already know that, but it bears repeating)
Yeah, you guessed it…I’m a perfectionist. Many of you reading this are perfectionists too. It’s potentially a fabulous character asset…but it can get woefully wicked (without much prompting). Why? Well, two reasons.
1) Perfection is a myth (ain’t nobody perfect, and attaining perfection in our work or life is a fallacy) and attaining it is a titanic waste of energy.
2) In the race to constantly improve or “outdo” ourselves (or others) we lose sight of our purpose, our vision, our art, our work. In striving for perfection we may even squash the illuminating essence of our divine design! Yeah, it’s that big of a soul-sucker.
In fact, the whole reason or focus of our intent is obliterated when we become consumed with flawless results or perfectly perfect outcomes. So what’s a well-meaning body to do? As a recidivist in terms of holding unattainable expectations for myself, I’m a crummy dispensary for advice in this department.
Observing Squirrel Lessons and Reforming Perfectionist Behaviors
However, I can tell you what I do…I get quiet, get centered, and start pondering (meditating) on a ‘deeper-higher’ level (going soul-deep, while getting a spiritual high view). In getting still and “checking in” – spaces open up and that allows room for powerful guides. Insights and wisdom begin to fill in the cracks of the stupid pillars of perfection I’ve erected in my mindset. Thankfully, organic, Natural, ancestral wisdom expands those cracks, and crushes my ludicrously demanding ideas of ‘what is good enough.’
Thus enter the squirrel. I found myself sitting in a putrid pool of poopy perfecto-perception (that woe-is-me mental self-talk that said “I’m not good enough, my stuff is utter crap, I’ll never achieve..blah, blah, blah“). So I stopped, dropped, and rolled into alternative consciousness. I sat on my front porch and began to loosen all my juices so broader wisdom could start shaking up my task-mastering mind.
While I was doing this, a squirrel punched through a copse of nearby oak trees. I watched it…first in idle curiosity, and then I became more deeply engrossed with the squirrel’s antics. Initially, I was struck by the precision with which it leaped from branch to branch like a flying trapeze artist. So magical...almost floating with ease and deftly snatching the next limb with aplomb. My mind (still lingering in that regimented perfectionist mindset) made a commentary while watching this squirrel…‘Wow, what perfection, oh so masterful‘….and then, abruptly, “KA-WHOP!“
The squirrel missed its switch and did a big-ass belly flop. I watched this too, mouth agape and in shock. The squirrel quickly regrouped, shook off the misstep, and finished up its botched landing with a solid 5 star, full-on gymnastic summersault to the neighboring elderberry. It then scampered to destinations unknown, leaving me to ponder its performance that left me in an enlightened stupor about powerful squirrel lessons.
What a befitting lesson. This whole squirrel-scene brought me back to the realization that nothing is perfect. Nature is always my go-to when it comes to learning, overcoming or adapting. It constantly serves as an example of how to cope or manage. Mother Nature didn’t disappoint by providing that brief hiccup in the squirrel’s acrobatic routine.
Squirrel Lessons About Perfectionism
The squirrel has been an endlessly helpful guide when it comes to going easy on self-imposed demands or unattainable high standards. Here are a few observations and insights to make my point about squirrels as life guides for curtailing perfectionistic behaviors…
A Miss is Just a Creative Landing: If you read about my encounter with the squirrel missing its branch, you know that wasn’t a miss. For the squirrel, it was merely an opportunity to crush a stellar triple back-flip and ace the landing in a far more entertaining way. There is big wisdom in that. The next time you might feel your performance as a fail or mediocre…reconsider…perhaps it is just an avenue for a more unique finish. Maybe a so-called “miss” is really just an inroad to a phenomenally cool landing for better outcomes down the road.
It’s Not Forgetting if it Has Purpose: Did you know squirrels forget where they hide their nuts? As a perfectionist, I would be kicking myself if I lost a chunk of my nuts! However, to the squirrel, that’s not a mistake…it’s a blessing. These so-called ‘lost’ nuts are left to their own natural impetus and grow into trees. In fact, millions of trees are born every year from neglected nuts left unfound by squirrels. Ask a squirrel, and they might say “See, I’m not absent-minded, I’m an advocate for reforestation!” I just love that. If you find yourself (as I do) kicking yourself for forgetting something…rephrase or rethink that by saying “I didn’t forget, I effectually made room for something better!“
If a Squirrel Falls in a Forest…: You probably will never know about it. To explain, squirrels do fall, but they do it gracefully, and they do it fearlessly. They can fall up from almost a 100 foot drop without sustaining bodily injury. I like to think of this as ‘free-falling mindset‘. What if the squirrel in all its alacrity and nutty wisdom is an encouragement to let go and fall into situations instead of hammering in perfect plans or rigid strategies? How would you approach life situations or projects or the future if you knew it was okay (or even beneficial) if you fell down along the way? What if you knew you were meant to fall on your path? Huh? Yeah, I know that’s counterintuitive to the perfectionist way of thought. However, the squirrel is a reminder that falling is an art form, and we can all survive a few missed branches when swinging for goals or achievements in life. Moreover, falling very often leads to happy outcomes we may have never considered had we not taken that necessary tumble.
Closing Thoughts About Perfectionism and Squirrel Lessons
So, I went a round-about way of laying out the oft-told story of perfectionism many of us face, and how the squirrel flew in the face of that overly structured mentality. In truth, I could have started and ended this article by laying out how the squirrel is replete with life lessons that can help us overcome perfectionist syndromes. But I feel the lead-in was valid as it takes time to catch onto the branches of Natural wisdom and start reforming our minds and behaviors.
I sincerely hope these thoughts about squirrel lessons and perfectionism offered you a new perspective & inspiration! And when in doubt, do as the squirrel does…lose your nuts, fall with grace, and know you are absolutely stunning just the way you are! As always, thanks for reading!
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