“Hey Ollin. I don’t know what it is, but no matter how much I work on this manuscript, it just doesn’t come out the way I want it to… It’s just not… what’s the word…?”
“Hey Ollin. I don’t know what it is, but no matter how much I try to make time for work and friends and family and pursuing my passion I never quite get it right. I’m always trying to achieve this standard that I want in my life, but I never get there. No matter how much I work at life, it just doesn’t come out the way I want it…. It’s just not… what’s the word…?”
About two weeks ago, I visited Las Vegas.
If you haven’t visited the strip recently, you may surprised to find how clean and polished it now looks. You may surprised at how overtly extravagant and massive and ornate and flashy it has become over the years. I mean, Vegas has always been extravagant and flashy, but it seems like lately even Vegas is trying to outdo its own typical extravagance so that it is now reaching a level that can only be described as “Dr. Seuss-inspired” luxury.
I was visiting Vegas for a conference, and one of the speakers at this conference wisely noted that all the extravagant casinos and hotels on the strip were not built off the winnings of its visitors–they were built off their losses.
Thousands of people from around the world visit Las Vegas every year and the overwhelming majority of them leave Vegas having lost. They leave Vegas losing because the game is rigged. About 90% of folks who play won’t win. And yet, every year, thousands of people will visit Vegas, hoping the roulette wheel will spin in their direction, hoping the slot machine will line up just for them, hoping the dealer will throw down the right card–and they’ll win big.
But the owners of the casino know better: they know the game is rigged. That’s why they built the game in the first place: so that everyone goes in hoping to win and leave having lost.
These lavish casinos were built so that a profit could be made from your losses.
Oh, sure, you could chide the casino owners for their greed, but who’s the one who keeps returning to Vegas to participate eagerly in a losing game?
The Perfection Game
Vegas isn’t the only rigged game in town. There is another game we all throw our chips into–a game we always hope to win, but a game we are always guaranteed to lose.
That game is The Perfection Game.
Don’t think you’ve played it before?
Oh come on. Who are you fooling?
I’m certain that you’ve seen a magazine cover at one point or another and said to yourself: “Man, I wish I had that guys abs,” or “Geez, I wish I had that girl’s waist.”
You’ve seen a celebrity in the news and said to yourself: “Man I wish I had their life.”
Or maybe you’ve read a book, and said to yourself: “Man, I wish I could write like that.“
Or maybe you’ve followed a blogger who seems to have effectively balanced every aspect of their life, in a robotic, almost superhuman fashion and said to yourself:
“Wow, what a perfect life that blogger has! I need to try to achieve that level of quality in my life!”
If you’ve said any of the above to yourself, then you’ve played The Perfection Game.
You’ve tried to be perfect and, chances are, every time you tried to be perfect, you lost.
You lost the game.
You lost the game every time.
You tried to have the perfect exercise routine, but then one week, you didn’t get up to run. Well, what do you know? You played The Perfection Game and you lost. The house won.
You tried to write The Great American Novel. But then, one month, you threw out what you wrote because you weren’t satisfied; and, instead of starting from scratch, you gave up on the book completely–because nothing you wrote ever came out the way you wanted it to. What do you know? You played The Perfection Game and you lost. The house won.
You tried to be the perfect husband, the perfect wife, the perfect blogger, the perfect citizen, the perfect this the perfect that… and let me guess? About a week or month into playing The Perfection Game–you lost big time. You lost and the house won.
Every time you played The Perfection Game you chose willingly to play a rigged game. So why are you constantly surprised that you keep losing that game?
You’re just like those people who go to Vegas, expecting that they’ll win big, when the odds are overwhelmingly against them.
How To Be Perfect (A.K.A. How To Let Yourself Be Imperfect And Win Big Every Time)
So how do you actually win The Perfection Game?
It’s easy: you don’t play the game at all.
You have to understand that the billboards, the news, the TV shows, the advertisements, the movies, the posters, the magazine covers, and yes, the bloggers–all those things and people who promote the idea that perfection can be attained are all making a profit from your losses.
They don’t make any money from your winnings. They don’t make any money from you trying to be perfect and then attaining that level of perfection. Why? Because if you were to win (think about it now) they would have nothing left to sell to you. They only stay in business if they can convince you that you aren’t perfect and that you need to get perfect, knowing fully well that perfection is impossible.
They rig the game, lure you in with the promise that you might win big, then they cash in when you lose (which they know is every single time.)
Sure, you can be pissed off at them for being so greedy. But who keeps playing the losing game?
So stop playing the game.
Instead of aiming to be perfect, just aim to try your best every time.
Are We Made To Be Perfect?
Are we made perfect? I’m not sure.
I think we’re made to be perfectly imperfect. At least I like to think so.
I feel a whole lot less pressure when I think this way. Because when I notice an imperfection in me I can say: “Good. That’s how it was supposed to be.” And when I look at another person who is imperfect, I can say: “Good. That’s how he/she was supposed to be.” And I can feel that I can forgive him/her more easily and let that thing they did to me go, and I can forgive myself for being imperfect, and let that thing I did to myself go.
Because our imperfections, as imperfect as they are, are perfect.
We were made to be perfectly imperfect.
Try this today: aim to be perfectly imperfect, and then see if you don’t find yourself breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Aim to just try your best and see if you don’t always find yourself hitting the jackpot every time.
much viva la love,
Today’s Courage Exercise
Stop playing The Perfection Game. Instead, aim to be perfectly imperfect. Aim to just try your best.
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