striving for perfection

Sunflowers (Van Gogh series) - Wikipedia

I would say that the one thing that prevents me from moving on in life is that I strive for perfection.

This is an obvious form of self sabotage and I am guilty of it. If you relate perhaps we can work together to overcome this.

What does striving for perfection look like?

In my previous blogs I mentioned that I started a small greeting card company where I hand paint cards and sell them online.

Since I hand paint my cards, I will paint 10 of the same image over and over until the image is “perfect” (according to me). Perfection in watercolor is not objective, not achievable and I am aware. I also know that there is beauty in the outcome where the watercolor blends itself.

Despite the fact that I *know* perfection is not achievable, when I look at the work of other artists I feel like my work is inferior, I therefore feel like giving up. Often times, I do.

  1. I want to paint. If I make a painting and it does not look perfect as a greeting card that would be terrible! I would be so unhappy with the product I would regret sending it to press because no one would buy it.
  2. I painted a flower and it is not perfect
  3. What I painted is so bad, I should stop and wait until I am an intermediate watercolor artist.

and this is when I give up!

Here are a philosophical antidote to overcome the pursuit of perfection.

Plato believed that everything that exists in the physical world is just an imperfection version of the perfect reality that exists beyond the physical world which is the world of forms/realm of ideas. Therefore by Plato’s logic my watercolor flowers are an imperfect version of the ideal flower.

Instead of quitting, learn to see the beauty in everything that exists in the world for what it is. Change your perspective. If you see a weed growing on the lawn, breathe in and admire it. That weed has it’s own beauty in the natural order of things. Control your urge to judge it by shifting your perspective.

Art has no end but it’s own perfection – Plato

I can live with this.

The best we can do in this physical world which is constantly changing is change with it. If that means I have to work on my skills, I must practice to let my skill as an artist develop. Therefore giving up will do more harm to me than good. Furthermore I must continue to paint these flowers, no matter how lovely they will one day look (with practice) they are still an imperfect version of the ideal watercolor flower in the world of ideas.

Someone also once said to me that: your mediocre is someone’s best

Stop being so hard on yourself. You can either let the pursuit of perfection overcome you or overcome the pursuit of perfection by just seeing the beauty in everything around you do and everything around you.