“Make your mark, and see where it takes you.”PETER H. REYNOLDS, THE DOT
As far back as I can remember, my pursuit of perfectionism had been my silent inhibitor, my invisible roadblock. It was the little voice in my head that constantly whispered, “It’s not ready. It’s not perfect.” My constant companion, perfectionism, served as both a motivator and a paralyzer, pushing me to strive for the best, but simultaneously keeping me from putting out my creations into the world.
The critical voice in my head would always find fault in the work I was doing, making me think it was never good enough. This voice would keep me in a constant cycle of procrastination, pushing me to delay things that I could have completed in months but ultimately stretched out over years. Perfectionism, I realized, was a perfect excuse.
It wasn’t until about three years ago, that I took a serious look at my life and where it was headed, especially regarding my personal and professional growth. I found myself in San Francisco, far away from my family in Illinois. The loneliness was palpable, even for an introvert like me. This solitude brought about a sea of ideas, a multitude of things I wanted to create, but I was stuck. I was caught in a loop, waiting for the right moment, the perfect product before I released it into the world. Yet again, perfectionism was my excuse.
A sudden realization dawned upon me:
“I AM A DESIGNER, I SOLVE PROBLEMS.”
I learned to balance the artist in me with the practical aspect of my work. I had to consciously stop being my own worst critic. Art, in its essence, is about self-expression, but design, on the other hand, is about problem-solving. The work I do is about enhancing the lives of others. And it will be fruitless if it remains unshared, hidden away in the recesses of my mind and my computer.
As Steve Jobs aptly put, “Real artists ship.”
This realization was transformative. It taught me that the importance lies in producing viable, functional products that can be delivered to the people, rather than creating something that is just aesthetically appealing or ‘Insanely Great’. It’s about getting things to work first and perfecting them later. I learned to let go of my excuses and embrace the philosophy of progression over perfection.