Book Review: “How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfection”
- Posted by Alessandra Kaminski
- On November 7, 2019
Why did we decide to read this book? What prompted us to pick it up?
I recently read “How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfection” by Stephen Guise and I am extremely happy that I did. I’m always looking to improve the areas in my personal development that I feel are weak and for this instance, in particular, I was looking for ways to improve my habits to maintain personal confidence. On a day to day basis, we’re aboard this crazy roller coaster called life and I’m just looking to make sure I’m wearing my safety belt.
I was drawn to this book because I found that the preview spoke directly to my creative personality. Personally, I am a planner. I love being prepared in every situation and my mind feverishly rushes through checklists, what-ifs, and worst-case scenarios. As a business owner and a creative person, I never realized that the pursuit of perfectionism has been what I’ve been hung up on all these years.
On many occasions, I’ve gone into analysis paralysis, where I’d overthink something to the point where I’d choose to do nothing instead of moving forward. The mere fact that there might possibly be the tiniest chance of something going awry would lead me to inaction, which would then evolve into guilt that would add to my daily stress.
As I was trying to make everything perfect to avoid possible embarrassment, I was totally overlooking the life experiences that imperfection teaches us. Understanding that there’s no true risk in being imperfect [unless you’re in the medical field!] and that the important thing is to just show up and let go of those mental projections, will help you create a much happier and more efficient version of yourself.
I am so happy that I found this book because it teaches you simple, actionable steps to improve your daily habits and headspace.
Who would get a lot out of this book?
If you are a self-proclaimed perfectionist, you NEED to read this book.
If you procrastinate by making sure that you have ideal conditions, an ideal mood, or ideal timing to complete your task, you NEED to read this book.
If you constantly project the outcome of events by listing all the things that will probably go wrong, you NEED to read this book.
If you’re constantly avoiding failure, humiliation, and embarrassment, so you always take the easy way out, you NEED to read this book.
What are our takeaways and how will we apply them?
This book teaches a series of mini habits to help you create actual change in your daily life rather than provide a sense of fleeting motivation. Here are the takeaways that I’ve already applied to my daily routine.
- Embrace imperfection. Doing things wrong is the only way we get better, so the only thing that matters is gaining the experience by doing them. As soon as you “OK” yourself to be imperfect, you’ll feel a huge sense of relief and allow yourself to get right to business.
- Stop ruminating. The only way to get over the past is to accept it. Rumination is a painful form of procrastination where you rehash past events, go through the shoulda, woulda, coulda and end up choosing to relive your nightmares. Stop replaying old movies in your head and start accepting what has happened and know that each new moment gives you an opportunity to take your life where you want it to go.
- Implement the concept of binary thinking. Make your tasks easy to complete by simplifying them to a pass or fail concept. Instead of getting nervous and procrastinating because you have to give a perfect presentation free of embarrassment that everyone will love, make your goal to simply get up and start talking out loud. The more you add to the “story” of your task the more you begin to project the outcome which fires up your negative and nervous emotions and stops you in your tracks.
- Another simple example is rather than thinking that in order to go to the gym and get a good workout you have to feel up to it and be motivated. Just make your goal to drive to the gym. That way, you either did it, or you didn’t and it completely bypasses your subjectivity on the matter.
- Change your language. Pay attention to the words you say. In particular, use the term “could” instead of “should.” “Should” always leads to guilt and resentment towards yourself and the task you need to complete. “Could” still gives you the opportunity to do the tasks and keeps your subconscious mind from delivering a guilt trip.
- Let go of embarrassment. If you find yourself avoiding doing things because you don’t want to be embarrassed, then you’ll never get to where you want to go. Embarrassment isn’t a harmful risk and has no unhealthy side effects. It’s 100% temporary and you can actually choose to let it go. Experiences are what help you become more confident and allow you to give less weight to the feeling of embarrassment. Stop seeking approval from the fictitious “everyone” because it’s just causing you to have low self-esteem. The more you’re able to participate in your life, the more practice you will get and the better you’ll be. If you think about it, everyone who has ever been great was a failure almost 1000x more than they were great. Dreaming big doesn’t always require aiming big. Aim at what’s in front of you to make it attainable and take aim often.
- Flip the switch on motivation. Our culture is constantly throwing out ways to get us motivated to take action. There are books, seminars, and coaches all dedicated to helping us get enough motivational feelings to take ourselves out of the rut we are in and spring us into action. The trouble with this model is that it won’t work all of the time. Sometimes we just don’t feel up to it. When you aren’t feeling creative or you are in a bad mood, climbing up that hill to motivate yourself to get stuff done is extremely daunting and let’s face it, unlikely. If you flip the switch and decide to stop waiting for or trying to build motivation, and instead just start by taking action, you’ll find that action actually creates motivation MUCH quicker!
GET THE BOOK
How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism
AUTHOR WEBSITE: www.stephenguise.com