Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hey Questioner Artists! Perfect is the Enemy of Good:
When Self-Doubt & Perfectionism get in the way of Creating

If you read back in my blog even a little bit, you'd notice many times where I allude to writing more from then on and then stopping after a couple weeks of doing so.

I get cold feet when I start writing, and I'm always trying to fight against it but it seems that I always know the perfect thing to say to stop myself from making progress:

The information is probably going to be inaccurate. I'll miss some important detail and fail to get my point across. Why bother?

Oh it's a sensitive issue, I don't want to offend anybody.

There is no way anybody's going to find this interesting enough to read.

I'm pretty sure I've said this before in one way or another. It's too redundant.

I don't know what to write right now so instead of staying on the page to figure that out I'll go and watch/read something to occupy that void I feel that could really only be filled by me writing and not this thing I'm about to watch/read.

I'm not in the zone just yet so I'm going to passively wait for the zone to come to me while distracting myself from the zone instead of staying in this blank page a.k.a. just putting myself in the zone like seriously it's so simple why do I keep doing this....

I've been catching up on Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast because I finally stumbled on a note I wrote a while ago (I'm really bad at actually reading my notes-to-self as much as I keep writing new ones) to watch out for her episode on Questioners - the type I identify with within her Four Tendencies framework, which attempts to categorize people based on how they respond to things they are expected to do. Here is the basic summary of it on her site:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

For a while I started doubting if I was indeed a Questioner and not a Rebel instead, because I seem to keep failing to follow my own expectations even after I've convinced myself about why I'm doing them the first time (read: previous parenthesis!). I sleep, wake up, then poof! My mood is the captain of the ship again.

But now I realise that it's not because I want to be disobedient to myself, or that I want to be in charge of each moment as they come - it's because for some strange reason, I somehow lose touch of my reasoning very easily in the face of more immediate concerns, often fear and anxiety. Honestly, I'm hoping it's just a case of me having established bad habits so strongly that it's hard to start new ones without having a strong external reset signal for them, like a renovation, a new house, a near-death experience (please don't let it get to that Bea!) ?!?!

Anyway, the conclusion that seems to make sense to my questioning self after having listened to the podcast is that I can combat these unhelpful rationalizations with some helpful ones! Here are some I've compiled:

  1. When speaking about something I care about and I'm doubting the thoroughness and carefulness of my work- This whole thing does not rely on me, I am just one person speaking their mind who might touch just a couple of others. Inaccuracies, or left-out sentiments are just an edit or a comment away should they arise.
  2. When I irrationally fear a backlash in spite of not having enough readers for that to happen anyway- It's highly unlikely, and if it even happens, that's a good thing! That means you have readers who are engaged enough to respond. And you can always respond back, and you've grown in such a way where you are able to argue amicably. Use that skill, trust it, develop it! Use it or lose it! That's the point of social media anyway.
  3. When I am tempted to forgo talking about my own very messy experiences, and attempt to just relay good advice instead of talking about my own journey - Being honest and genuine is more important than being correct, because there are a lot of people far more qualified to speak to specialized information than me. That's not my job here. My job here is to be me and to speak about what I experience, and yes I can sprinkle my theories here and there, but I have to show my flaws too. I need to be open about how messy the journey is for people who might have the same problems. Showing my weaknesses and vulnerability in light of what I am trying to change will be more helpful and insightful than purified advice that has been heard many times. That's how I learn, through watching other flawed people overcome things, and that's how I can most effectively teach anything, too, if at all.
These are the things that apply to me for my internet spaces (YouTube and this blog) where I'm attempting to both document and make sense of my own life. If it does not apply to what you're trying to do, the guidelines in making counter-rationalizations is to lay everything out when you're in a state of analysis paralysis, and take only the parts that stir you to action, and focus on those. And if you're as forgetful as me, make a system where you are reminded of those helpful, actionable rationalizations when you need them.

1 comment:

  1. Apir! I also tend to backslide...and I have a good list of excuses, too. I often say I miss blogging pero ningas cogon lang naman. Let's group hug!

    Pero check na check sa "speak about your experiences, show your flaws". Ang sarap maging open at maging vulnerable vs maging expert. :)