“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” — G.K. Chesterton
Ever turn a proverb upside down? In “Way of All Flesh” by Samuel Butler, Ernest was annoyed and surprised at his parents for wanting him to be more religious all his life, and when he did, they were still not satisfied. He said to himself that a prophet was not without honors save in his own country, but he had gotten into an odious habit of turning proverbs upside down, and it occurred to him that a country is sometimes not without honor save for its own prophet.
It helps sometimes, to see what happens. Many of us are brought up to believe that we have to do, excel, finish first, get on the team, do a good job, see it through, get it done on time, say it right, get ahead, and on and on, better and better as we go. Why? Maybe that’s the way Dad did it; and Grandma did it and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.
And then, inevitably, we’d fail or fall. So we’d turn back on ourselves in shame, beat ourselves up, maybe turn to alcohol or drugs or some other addiction. If we were failures in public, then many of us would make up our own private world where failure doesn’t exist. In this little world fantasy ruled, and in fantasy there are only successes; everybody scores
But I have come to know that it doesn’t have to be so. We can break the spell and stop beating ourselves, and get away from Father’s angry voice or that disappointed look on Mother’s face. We can do things at our own speed, in our own unique way, on our own timeline, just for the joy of doing them.
- Procrastination (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Perfectionism (converstations.com)
- 8 Ways To Pitch Perfectionism (psychcentral.com)
“The readiness is all.” – William Shakespeare
Willingness is like faith. We know it’s real because we experience it, but we can’t define it. Nonetheless, the sense of humility, surrender, and peace that accompany willingness are our indicators that it is real, indeed.
A recovering addict who recently finished treatment told this story: “I was walking downtown and I got at least three offers to buy drugs and have sex. I said no. My willingness at that moment was to say no.”
We move forward often without knowing where we’re going. But in those rare, shining moments of willingness when we conform our will to the Universe’s, we see our direction clearly. And we are transformed.