How "Perfection" Holds Me Back

I don't want to put something out until it's perfect.

Over the years I've used this excuse and seen and/or heard so many others do the same thing. At one point, I considered this a completely acceptable reason to hold back my work, regardless of the medium. However, I've learned over time that the idea of perfection without experience is pretty farfetched.

This is a pretentious excuse, in my very own opinion at least. Excessive time spent does not mean the finished product will be any better than something given far less time to mature - you have to fail to succeed - you need the experience to grow. I'm sure some people reading this will disagree, I fully encourage this! I think disagreement is healthy and conversations about said disagreements are even healthier!

As a person that has created content in various mediums I've always been overly critical of my own work - I would intentionally hold my releases back (or just not release things at all) because I was petrified of the reaction I'd garner from others. This, it turns out, was a foolish decision and I genuinely held myself back for an extravagant amount of time.

I used to make YouTube videos, I would spend weeks making a single video, making sure everything was mixed to perfection, every little detail was absolute perfection. What did I learn from this? In all honesty, nothing. I didn't allow myself space and/or time to actually fail. I spent too much time being critical and not realizing that whatever I was putting out should be perfect (this is totally subjective and open to interpretation given perfection is totally subjective and not a measurable standard.) and not a lesson or gauge to figure out what, if anything, is actual perfection in my particular medium of choice.

Another example of me chasing what I would consider being perfect is this article itself. It's taken me three days to create a baseline of all my thoughts and examples. None of that mattered - I erased everything I'd written out and decided it wasn't perfect. Why did I do this? I was letting my standards of perfection control my output and was not willing to open myself up to the initial perception, or opinion, of another.

The point, which I am trying to reach, is simply this - perfection is unachievable until that first piece is actually released. You need a baseline, something with which to estimate genuine growth. While I do believe mediocrity is cancerous, completely avoiding mediocrity is a foolish mistake which I have made time and time again.

I know how difficult it can be, you take pride in the things you make and you want that to show but others don't have your same standards. Now, I'm not saying don't have any standards whatsoever because that's just silly. I'm not saying sit down and make a five-minute YouTube video in thirty-seconds, release it and brag to everyone about how great you are. (Unless you are actually that great and content creation for you is that simple.) You need to plant the initial seed to develop your initial growth, nobody gets anywhere without putting in the time, of course, but don't over exaggerate the amount of time necessary to actually grow.

If you're not willing to deal with the stress, ridicule, and potential insult - you won't grow. A person with the experience of the ridicule and insult has the experience necessary, they have failed and have learned to accept failure - now able to understand what it was that didn't work out initially and just how to make it better.

Do not allow yourself to be constrained by your own standards. Learn to fail and from that learn how to improve.

Bonus points to anyone that noticed the word "perfect" has been italicized every use.