2011-05-05

The perils of perfectionism

There is a time in life of every man (or, indeed, woman), when the individual in question has to face the fact that he has, in some way, failed to realize his ambitions. Having read such a bold statement, you are probably becoming suspicious and think of a possible early demise of my blog. This, fortunately, is not the case, otherwise I would probably become the second most ridiculed citizen of Poland on the Internet, right behind Andrew „hit them in the jewels and run” Golota. Still, for my first post after a lengthy hiatus, allow me to write a few words on the biggest, in my opinion, cause of disappointment with oneself in any hobby related community. Oddly enough, the problem I'd like to touch upon, is perfectionism.

Truth be told, there is nothing wrong in gunning for perfection. In a way, it is a constant struggle against our inadequacies. Giants upon whose shoulders others stand are usually perfectionists, regardless of any talent they actually possess. However, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of measuring against perfection of others, and bemoan the fact that it is unachievable, all the while ignoring the obvious truth, that it takes time and practice to reach the lofty heights others might have reached before.

You might now be scratching your heads in confusion as to what am I alluding to. The point I am trying to make however is simple, and actually one I had to assimilate myself. Regardless of your skill level as a hobbyist, how many times have you compared your work to the creations of celebrated individuals, especially at the beginning of your attempts at modeling or painting? How many times have we all been staring at the models done by people such as, for instance, Jennifer Haley, with longing in our eyes, and then glanced upon our works, and despaired? Plenty of times, I bet. For some, comparing their attempts with those of other people can be an impulse to experiment and develop their skills. For others, it is a cause of annoyance with their temporary lack of ability, to the point of, in most extreme cases, abandoning the hobby altogether. I am sure you all know which approach to the problem is better. Honestly, all that remains for me to say on the matter is quoting the words that have prompted me to write this piece. Unfortunately, I cannot sing with the voice of an angel the way Ellen McLain does, but that is all right. „But there's no sense crying over every mistake, you just keep on trying till you run out of cake...” I am positive I would butcher the song horribly anyway.

Enough ranting for today. On a side note, I should probably do an editorial on another rookie mistake many people make, namely setting their goals too high, and spiraling into disappointment with each failure. The fact that I have decided to forge my own Blogger template, and now I am suitably humbled by the task I have undertaken, would probably make it a literary equivalent of a seppuku however. Who knows, perhaps I'll be able to share the end result of my trip through Development Hell with you eventually. Don't hold your breath though, after all, there are no straight roads in any Hell worth mentioning - except for booby trapped ones.

2 comments:

  1. This was a struggle I was at war with for a long time myself.
    For many years I was a perfectionist, and seldom happy with my work. It was actually really crippling - I'd tire of projects due to getting burnt out through stressing over them and being dissatisfied despite what others would say.
    For instance I was GMing an RPG, but due to it not meeting my excessive standards I couldn't continue. The players were having fun and perfectly happy, but perfectionism got the better of me.

    I've found since I've been willing to make and accept mistakes as learning opportunities I've been improving faster and am generally happier with my work.

    Great post!

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  2. Wonderful article. You have a skill for putting abstract thoughts into words.

    Last year I put an Imperial Fists project on hold because I couldn't achieve the look I wanted. This year, I lowered the goals I had set for my Space Wolves. Little steps towards realistic goals are what will get an army finished. I'll get back to the Fists one day. In the time being my skills will develop with other projects.

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