In this blog I wish to address one of the biggest causes of failure in the world today. I am calling it the I-AM-NOT-PERFECT syndrome!
The I-am-not-perfect Syndrome
Are we perfect beings?
I can hear you say a resounding “NO” on that.
And you are right. I agree with you.
What am I then making such a big fuss about?
There was a world once where Success and Failure were best friends. Success and failure used to go around hand in hand, and where one stepped up, the other stepped down. Success knew, it wont last long, soon it will be taken for granted. And it wanted to feel important, so it gave way to failure and that’s when failure stepped up. Failure knew it was only a state of transition for him – eventually it would give way to Success, and eventually life would be happy again. Yet, in all this, it had its part to play. It had its job to prepare for Success to come in and take over. It had its time to dwell, and then leave smiling.
It was a perfect life where nothing was so perfect, yet things were in sync. They enjoyed their own times, and there was no one to blame. The circle of Night and Day, Ying and Yang continued and Success was simply the other side of Failure. Life went on with its ups and downs, and in retrospect, there was little to feel bad about in this Mind Palace.
Then one day something tragic happened. There came a Demon who would tear these best friends apart. It had a pleasant face. It promised to take away the pain of failure, and it was given a pass to enter the Mind Palace. Once it was in, it tore apart the sacred bond and took away Success forever, leaving Failure alone to dwell. It broke the sync and plunged the mind into a spiraling vortex of sadness, which went on as a self sustaining chain-reaction.
This Demon had a sweet name. It was called ‘Excuse”.
It’s called the I-Am-not-perfect syndrome!!
It took me a while to realize this in me and in others, and once I did, it propelled me in a different direction altogether. I never had to look back in my life. Decisions, even after years, made sense.
If you understand this and accept it, I can assure you it will change your life forever.
Failure, and the purpose of an Excuse: The world has changed in many ways over the past couple of years. It rotates faster now. The rapid change tags along obvious problems. As in – you are far more busy nowadays and you are now competing with a far diverse database. Our children seem to be born geniuses, they are seeing a more evolved world -heading for more challenges and competition. Think about it.
If you want a job, there are several people opting for the post. If you want to start a business, more often than not, someone else will have thought about it before you. Even in your personal life, if you want someone’s undivided attention today, you are not only competing with people around him or her, you are now competing against Facebook and Whats-app as well. It gets frustrating.
You would not win every time, and at times, we fail.
Now here is the twist. See, Failure is a very natural thing, it was meant to teach you and help you to pick up from where you left off. It was supposed to be, as the saying goes – “a stepping stone to success” But what comes next was not something God designed human beings for. The Excuse for it.
Of course its not a great place to be if you have failed in a certain battle of life. And no matter what others think of you, you have to face yourself everyday!! At times it is so gut wrenching that you wold do anything to get a moment of solace. So what is to prevent you from feeling pathetic and breaking down?
Here comes your inherent Defense system. That coping mechanism inside you asks you to divert responsibility.
It tells you – “Hey, it was not your fault. You tried, not everything was in your hands.”
People across all ages and across all countries do it. When a failure strikes, we try to justify to ourselves saying it was not our fault. It was the other person, it was the circumstances, and so on.
Excuses makes you feel a sense of relief in all this pain of failure. Keeps a warm hand on your shoulders when the whole world is against you. Makes it a bit easier to justify the failure to yourself. They are like self-generated Best-friends-in-need. Like your mother, who would forgive everything you have done wrong.
But then at times we find that it is our fault!! There really is no one to blame.
What do we say then??
The obvious – I am not perfect.
I am not a perfect person – I make mistakes, I have shortcomings. I do realize that they are not good, but do I need to be perfect? Am I not allowed to make my share of mistakes? There are a whole lot of variations to this reasoning but I think you get my drift.
Now Come on!! You cannot beat this. This is the mother of all Justifications! And apparently it seems to be a very reasonable assumption. We have been told so many times we cannot be perfect from the time we were a child.
There is Only one problem – You are just not reaching anywhere with that reasoning.
If you have lived alone for a big part of your life, and if you have taken care of yourself and others, or if you have reached a position of utmost responsibility in your career, you will see – there really are no excuses in life. You make a mistake, you suffer its consequences, you fall down, you get hurt and then you get up and start running again. No one, after your parents will let you off with a clean chit. That’s life. That reasoning of “Why you failed” may make sense to you, but it will not save you from its consequences. No one else cares. They will simply single you out as a failure.
With that in mind, how wonderful would it be, if, instead of creating a way to make us temporarily feel good, we learn to WIN in life and feel good all the time?
Take responsibility: Don’t take the shortcut
Here is where winners get ahead in the game.
Lets assume for a moment: All that you have not achieved in life – personal or professional, all that you could have got – imagine all that is and was in your hands. Imagine you are able to achieve anything and everything you really want to.
Absolutely no one else and absolutely nothing else is to blame.
With this premise in mind, something beautiful happens. Things come under your control. If you could have done it once, you can do it again, isn’t it? You start feeling that every setback in life is merely a step ahead, an early attempt to success, and you will not feel like a Victim ever. You will not justify anything that went wrong – not on your watch. There is no need to justify, the best is yet to come. The show is not over because you will try and try until you succeed.
I NEVER DREAMED ABOUT SUCCESS, I WORKED FOR IT : Estee Lauder.
Hence there is really nothing like failure.
Sure you cannot get back some of the things that are lost in life, but believe me, there is a overall peaceful feeling in realizing that you are in control of your successes and failures. In feeling that you would never make the same mistake twice. You will feel the need top take things in to your own hands, make things happen rather than wait for them to happen.
WE MAY NOT BE PERFECT NOW, BUT CAN’T WE BE A LITTLE MORE PERFECT THAN WHAT WE ARE TODAY? CAN PERFECTION BE A JOURNEY AND NOT A DESTINATION? THAT, BELIEVE ME, IS HOW WINNERS THINK.
Isn’t it true for any place in life? You see someone make a mistake, you expect that person to learn from it and never repeat it, isn’t it? What if all of us started excusing ourselves and stopped learning? Would it not be a dull place to live in? That’s how our brain learns new skills too, neurons fire up and join hands to learn and every time you make a mistake it corrects itself creating a new neural pathway which makes us more efficient and targeted. That is how the whole system was meant to work. Unfortunately many of us see this pattern years into our lives when it does not matter anymore.
If we relinquish responsibility it is peaceful for a while, but then it is out of your hands. Take responsibility, tell yourself : This is not done! I cannot give up. I will strive till I win. And WIN you will.
This is how achievers think. They take responsibility for their failures. If you don’t do that, you will never feel the joy of success either.
Remember the story in the beginning?
Success and failure in life go hand in hand all the time. One gives way to the other. That is how the symphony of life creates a perfect melody.
YOU AND I ARE NOT PERFECT. BUT, TRUST ME, LIFE IS.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.