Perfection Is OFF the Table

REPOST from 2015. But applicable now! 😁

Sometimes if I can't make a perfect change I make no change at all.  Which is self-defeating.  it makes me think of the old Hee Haw song, "If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all..." But replace the lyrics with, "If I can't be perfect, I'll make no change at all..."

So I started looking at things differently.  Instead of perfect, my goal is to make changes which are at least 50% better.  In most scenarios in order to be worth doing, the change has to yield a 50% improvement.  For some scenarios, a 50% improvement can make a giant difference!  This applies to so many things.  House improvements, health, art-making.  Do you choose 0% improvement or 50% improvement?  (NOTE to my children and descendents:  Do not misunderstand me, I am not advocating doing a half-way job.) If you are kind of stuck in the doing nothing land, maybe choosing a 50% improvement is a good way to go.  

This was the case with my house.  I am thankful for my house.  I have a nice house.  But I had a mindset of "If I can't do the gut kitchen renovation job I will do nothing."  Things are only getting a little settled after a family member was really ill last fall. I just didn't want any more major mayhem, because I am still recovering from that mayhem.  While the kitchen was nicely designed, I hated the light sucking property of the black countertop and the dark cabinets. I hated it for TEN YEARS. Sorry, previous owners, it is/was beautiful but I need more light.

Enter the Cozy Minimalist course, which I gave myself for my birthday last spring.  (I get nothing for mentioning this course, I just like Nester's site and loved the course).  Because of the Cozy Minimalist course, I've started making some changes.  I am slowly lightening things up, one piece at a time.  This winter will be SO much lighter in my house.  I'm about 1/6 of the way through painting my cabinets.  If I were to do it again, I would pay someone to paint them.   But I've started, so will take the kitchen a section at a time.  It will be so much better!  Maybe even 75%!  ;-)  Of course, 0% or 50% change are not the only options. 

 Perfection is off the table


Sherri Farley said...

Dixie, This post has really hit home with me & a lesson I needed to be reminded of. Thank you for some wise words. As a hand sewer with aging hands & a permanently injured needle pushing finger I have been doing some re evaluating about where my doll making is headed. I can no longer make completely hand sewn dolls. I seriously thought about giving it up all together. I have never been a quitter, so this month I have been working on a few small dolls using the sewing machine for the bodies and majority of the clothing. I have always had a love hate relationship with the dreaded "machine" and it has been so frustrating. I feel like I've had a month of intense grueling sewing lessons with a final grade of C-. I was so excited to get to the small amount of finishing hand sewing on these girls. Yesterday, I wasn't too proud of these dolls. After reading your post I took a long second look. They are far from perfect, but I can see much improvement from the first one I did. The last little dress actually went together without removing a single stitch or uttering a single mental curse word. Maybe I can get along with the "machine" after all. Have I ever made the perfect hand sewn doll? No. Will I ever make a perfect doll with the machine? No, but with a bit of compromise I can still make dollies & continue to enjoy my love of hand sewing. Sometimes, I need a kick in the butt and be reminded of what's truly important in life.

Dixie Redmond said...

Sherri, yes, sometimes our bodies tell us we have to make changes. Or our life circumstances.

Dixie Redmond said...

Our bodies let us know when we need to change things. I bet those dolls are beautiful! I have had to make changes because of life circumstances and my body not letting me sit for hours at a time. It's all good.

Martha said...

I have thought about all this too. My needs and likes have changed some too. It does for all of us I think. I have been trying to make improvements in my house, and in my doll making, and in how I help my family. Not many people are able to just focus on themselves, they have so much to do and we are going in so many directions that it is hard to do everything just right. If you work at something, you are going to make improvements, I believe I have in lots of things. I do aim for perfection, but if what I am making isn't perfect, it has flaws and things wrong that I hadn't planned on, but if it is a good work, stable, sound and basically what I wanted to make, I accept it, and let it be finished. If on the other hand, it has a definite fault that isn't acceptable, then I will continue on until such a time as it is ( not perfect, but with in acceptable limits ). I think this applies to us as individuals too, trying to improve our homes, what we love to make, how we treat other people, and taking care of our selves, Working on improving is what we should all strive for, and if you work at it, I think we will improve. I always just do the best I can and hopefully I will be with in acceptable limits.

Dixie Redmond said...

Martha, Yes! Working on improving is what matters. And I like that you included the "how we treat people part".

Edyth said...

A Good post for me to read, thanks Dixie. In truth I shy away from people who are perfectionists, I have never been one myself and am uncomfortable with the concept. I make a pillow or a doll or a painting or a garden with no thought as to whether it is perfect or not, but rather whether it pleases me or works as desired. Who is to say what is perfect. A doll that has been much loved has character. A garden is inherently messy and changing and growing. So is a home interior that is actively lived in. I often seem to have a project on every level surface, since I no longer have the luxury of a spacious separate studio like Jack provided me with for years through many house moves.
Your new kitchen will be lovely and may it be full of pumpkin pies soon.

Daisy Debs said...

Lol ! Hit home with me too ! I really need to " lighten up " my home too ....although I think it is a wonderful chaos that happens in the craft room/space the end of a project I need to clear the space ..thus clearing my head . My kitchen is small and needs to be kept clean and clutter free at all times , if not , then I just cant function in there ! I hate my kitchen floor my next wish is to re-do it ( too expensive sadly ) or lay down some cheap and cheerful lino ....nice and easy to wipe clean :)
Happy decorating ! It will be lovely and fresh and make you feel happy ! :)

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden