Rebecca Murphy is a life coach life coach, a photographer, an artist & adventurer. She writes Finding Freedom In the Leaping. After traveling New Zealand for six months and then discovering that the corporate world wasn’t for her, she decided that life is too short to be unhappy. She decided to be a life coach and has never looked back.
I just got off the phone with one of my favorite clients, she’s incredible. Truly. While we were talking I had an insight that I think bears sharing here for many reasons, not the least of which being that I get to mention one of my all time favorite films.
If you’ve never seen The Usual Suspects go now (run, DO NOT walk, to netflix and get it!). I’m not going to spoil it for you here, but I am going to share one of my favorite lines (I’ll probably quote it wrong, but I won’t tell if you don’t.) In this amazing mystery Kevin Spacey’s character says,
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
(here’s a great video of the end of the movie (BEST SCENE EVER!) but it does give away the ending, so don’t watch it if you don’t want it ruined for you!!)
What’s so special about this, and what the heck does it have to do with anything? Well, I think the greatest trick the human mind ever pulled was convincing us there was such a thing as PERFECT.
Ask anyone who creates anything (and by that I mean any person who has ever lived) if their painting, or writing, or photographs, or garden, or yoga practice, or children, or relationships, or vacations, or houses, or incomes, or educations, or reality, or life is perfect… My hunch is that what you’ll hear back most of the time will be something like: eh. Not really. Even if we get close, or are soothed by romanticized, hormone colored glasses, there will ALWAYS be something our mind can find that is wrong. And likewise there will always be some version that our minds tell us would be perfect. If only…
It’s like the frog jumping toward the pond: If a frog is 20 feet away from a pond and every time he jumps he cuts the distance in half, how long till he reaches the pond? (Answer: NEVER!).
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT!
The more we wait for it, search for it, brute force it, tweak until our eyes bleed in the middle of the night sitting in front of our computer yearn for it, the less we will ever have it. It is perhaps the most incredible joke ever played on the human race. And it’s effectively cruel in the way that, for many of us, it stops us from even starting.
Perfect exists outside ourselves. Perfect is an expectation. Perfect is a restraint. Perfect is a death: the death of all else that is possible.
So, whether you’re going for a new job, starting a new relationship, working on a piece of art, taking a chance on a new path, or just trying to do your best in your day to day life, let go of “perfect”. Go instead with what feels amazing. Go with what makes you smile, what gives you energy to keep going, what lights up the parts of your brain that fuel your creativity, and make you want to take action.
Because while we won’t know it until much time has passed, eventually we’ll look back on thosethings and be content with them. Filled with joy by them. And perhaps even convinced that they were in fact “perfect”, just the way they were.