For those of you who don’t read or follow my other blog, I’ve been attending one-to-one counselling sessions for the last month or so, in order to address some of the issues I’ve faced for much of my life (mostly revolving around anxiety and fear, leading to stints of depression). I won’t go in to any of that on these pages but, last week’s one-hour session included an interesting discussion on the art of achieving Perfection…
I’m not afraid to admit that I’m quite a perfectionist myself, even when I let the odd minor detail slip or slide with my woodwork. But, apparently, perfection does not exist; it is impossible to achieve. For that reason, we should all be looking to achieve something else – not just with our work but, in our every day lives – our own, personal excellence.
It’s still an idea or notion that I am coming to terms with. As we were talking through several key points, in my mind, I was using techniques that I’ve learnt and experiences I’ve had through working with wood as metaphoric examples to help me consciously digest and understand each point. So, I thought it would be interesting to try and talk about this a little further on this blog.
Generally speaking, I am not a spontaneous person. I have pure admiration for people (mostly woodturners) who can look at a lump at lump of what and ‘see’ what they are going to make, without any prior planning or intentions. That is not me! While I do believe that something planning and forethought is necessary in any project (cutting lists, for one example), I am also guilty of over-thinking and, as daft as it may sound, over-planning the initial steps and further sequences. All of this added thinking creates stress and unnecessary pressure. With that comes the high expectations and, wherever we fail to hit those marks, we can become angry, frustrated and, as I’m sure you’ve experienced before, one mistake can lead to several others.
We need to approach our woodworking with less of the fear that things can potentially go wrong. There are may risks associated with almost any activity. We, as a species, are not perfect by design. We must also acknowledge that our personal perceptions of what is ‘perfect’ in a design is not a view that will be shared by others – therefore, it is not perfect, but our vision of our own personal excellence. To have more of the confidence and less of the fear in sharing our ideas and approaches and putting ourselves ‘out there’; that is how we strive towards this.
Perfection is a destination that ‘must’ be reached. When we fail to get there, we dwell on the negatives, our fear increases and the frustration grows. Excellence, however, is an on-going ‘journey’ that never stops. There is no end destination. We get on the road and we keep on driving forwards. No right-turns, no going back; the road ahead is straight and clear.
Okay, this post may be more philosophical than anything else I’ve posted here and, to be fair, I’ve been a bit ‘vague’ with some the details as I don’t want to rip-off the service I’m currently paying for. Hopefully, you get the jist though. It’s not just about positive thinking and approaching problems in a calm manner; we need to approach all aspects of our work in the correct positive manner.
I hope this post has made some sense and that it gives you something to consider next time you step in to the workshop. Blogging is all about ‘giving’ and ‘accepting’ by sharing our efforts with numerous untold others. We all have that confidence and we’re not afraid to be wrong.
Thanks for reading.