Perfectionism is a Form of Insecurity
(What I Learned In Law School)
(this is the 6th installment in our Success Principles)
If you've been around the Good Looking Loser community for a little while, you'll know a little about Chris and that I actually got a scholarship to go to Law School at the University of San Diego.
While it isn't a T-14 (top 14) Law School and I generally think college is a "scam", I'm still proud that I got in and received a scholarship.
Per academic criteria, there are certainly more astute and accomplished boys and girls.
Let's just say- Law School wasn't for Good Looking Loser and my vision of the future didn't include being an attorney.
(I swallowed the Red Pill sometime in 2006)
My career as a Law School student lasted about 10 days.
At orientation, I introduced all the hot girls to each other and formed a social circle in about 55 minutes that stood for the entire 3 years- without me, obviously.
Most importantly, toward the end of the orientation, I was being an asshole during the Q&A session and started asking a bunch of pointless open-ended questions since it seemed like all of the 300+(?) students were scared to talk to the row of uptight professors.
The professors liked my initiative and went on-and-on giving answers to the stupid shit I was asking.
I guess you could call me a "troll" (I only recently learned what that was).
During the endless rambling, however, I heard something from a certain Professor Donald A. Dripps, that stuck with me to this very day. It actually grabbed my attention while I was completely ignoring the professors and flirting/spitting PUA routines at this cutie named Jessica.
Old Dripps said-
"Being a Lawyer is about doing an adequate job with an inadequate amount of time."
I immediately thought-
- Woah, that's actually amazing advice for everything.
(it shot dead the perfectionist inside of me)
- I have no business going to Law School.
For some reason, what Dripps said really stuck with me.
I came to realize how Law School/Being a Lawyer was going to work-
You are INTENTIONALLY piled under so much work that you can never possibly expect to do (even if you took Modafinil and literally studied for 24 hours a day for weeks on end)- that your goal is simply to "do the best you can".
The system is meant to destroy the perfection-seeking but not super efficient habits of the most gifted, prepared and driven students.
It works well; some students kill themselves.
Some kill themselves after they graduate.
In high school and undergrad you can get away with perfecting and giving attention to every little detail; in Law School (and life) you can't if you want to be successful.
As I reflect on what Dripps said today, I find that most successful people I know are highly efficient non-perfectionists.
They are getting results while others are busy trying to be perfect or doing nothing at all.
There is No Perfect Time
This probably applies to YOU or certainly- to someone you know.
Are you waiting for the "perfect time" to start something?
- "When I get a bunch of money, I'll be able to quit work and hit on girls full-time."
- "I'm busy with school right now, so when I finish I'll be able to get in shape."
- "I'm too busy getting in shape right now, but once I have my ideal body I'll start talking to women."
- "I'm too busy with [insert #1 priority] right now, but once I do [insert unrelated goal], I'll start [insert #1 goal]."
You will always have some responsibilities that will require your time. That will probably never change.
These responsibilities provide convenient excuses to not starting/working on what you really want to do.
There might be a "better time" to dedicate yourself to your #1 goal, but I assure you-
THERE WILL BE NO PERFECT TIME.
For the young guys, ages 18-22, if you think you'll "have more time" after college or when you become a real adult- think again. Your responsibilities in life will only increase and your free time will only decrease.
THE PERFECT TIME IS NOW TO WORK ON YOUR #1 ONE GOAL.
Don't Get It Twisted
Remember, I don't recommend having more than ONE goal.
Some guys, without full-time jobs/school, are able to productively attack TWO goals.
When we say, "There's No Perfect Time," this IS NOT encouragement to start working on a bunch of different goals (multitasking/half-assing).
IT IS encouragement to devote AS MANY HOURS AS POSSIBLE to your #1 goal rather than DOING NOTHING because you don't have a completely open calendar, no responsibilities, other stuff going on.
Rocky Balboa Wasn't A Real Person
There's something I call "Rocky Mentality" that is related to this topic.
Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone, was a fictional character in a series of popular boxing movies called "Rocky".
He was small in physical stature but overachieved due to his amazing work ethic, focus and threshold for pain. Rocky would outlast and beat bigger and stronger boxers because his "heart" and willpower was stronger.
Rocky gave 100%, every day, every hour, every minute and every second.
Rocky rather not do something at all than go any less than 100% ALL THE TIME.
The movies are quite inspiring and often leave the viewer with the "Rocky Mentality".
Even couch potatoes that have given up on their sex lives, physical appearance and ambitions put down their bongs and become hungry, goal-driven warriors... for the next 72 hours.
The problem is-
Rocky isn't a real person.
A lot of undeniably hardworking guys, including myself, somewhat - years ago, apply a "Rocky Mentality" to their entire life and it's the exact reason that things take longer than they should or nothing gets done.
If they can't dedicate themselves 100% to something- they ain't doing it at all.
While seemingly a valiant mindset, it's simply a recipe for mediocrity, avoidance and denial.
There is No Perfect Time.
The journey to success is a product of doing an adequate job with an inadequate amount of time, on a daily basis.
Some days, you'll have no responsibilities and you can attack your goal for hours at a time.
Most days, however, your schedule won't be blank.
MAKE TIME - STOP LOOKING FOR IT.
The "100% or Nothing" mindset is motivating but not sustainable for lasting, significant success.
Every Little Bit Counts > Rocky Mentality
If you "find yourself" unable to dedicate at least 4-6 hours a day to your #1 goal, you will have to reassess/reorganize your priorities in life.
It's unlikely that you accomplish anything significant (in any reasonable amount of time) if you don't work on [insert goal] on a daily basis.
Ideally, your #1 goal should be your #1 priority (time spent).
But sometimes that's not always possible.
Assuming that on most days you are able to have your #1 goal be your #1 or #2 priority, I want you to keep something in mind for the days that don't go so smoothly, for the days you don't feel as motivated, for the days you are physically or psychologically tired, for the days that get busy and it's completely outside your control -
Every Little Bit Counts
Ironically, it's the same mentality that Phil and I preach over and over to guys for perspective on male enhancement.
Literally, "Every Little Bit Counts" and It All Adds Up.
There will be days that you will feel great, motivated, rested, have a full day and a stadium of 100,000 adoring fans encouraging you to accomplish your goal.
There will be days where you will have none of the five.
On those days, just do something and try to feel good about it.
This is better than doing nothing and feeling bad about it.
(or doing nothing and feeling okay about it)
Just because you can't give it 100% on that specific day, doesn't mean your 50% time-investment (or even 50% effort) won't pay some future dividends.
- If your #1 goal is to lose weight and reach 8% body fat - going to the gym for 25 minutes is better than doing nothing that day.
- If your #1 goal is to beat approach anxiety - doing a handful of approach anxiety drills is better than doing nothing that day.
- If your #1 goal is grow a 7.5" penis - doing 10 or 15 minutes of manual exercises is better than doing nothing that day.
- If your #1 goal is sleep with 30 women in a year - hitting on 5 or 10 girls is better than doing nothing that day.
- If your #1 goal is to [insert goal] - doing [insert something] is better than doing nothing that day.
Don't give yourself a "rest day" simply because you are being lazy that day.
Earn your rest days.
Whether I knew it at the time or not, I've realized that any success that I've experienced is simply a product of a continuous investment of time and energy to a specific goal.
Right now, it's more clear than ever.
Building a business/blog (my #1 goal and priority), for example, is just that.
There is no end point, there is no finish line.
(my websites aren't weren't aesthetically pleasing - but if I was a perfectionist - there would be no websites)
On any given day, I'll have a specific short-term goal in mind (e.g. writing a blog post) and something will happen (accounting, website downtime, emails, family/friends/employee drama, unexpected anxiety/mood/lack of sleep, etc.) outside my control that will require a substantial amount of time and energy to be spent elsewhere.
While it's frustrating and time-consuming, I still always try to put in a little effort toward my planned goal.
It's easy to push things back and justify it.
That offers no sense of accomplishment whatsoever, so I try not to do that.
Take this little article, for example. It's not perfect, but it gets the point across.
Let the perfectionists chase perfection.
You have better things to do, like-