Ignore media’s focus on the newest car, the perfectly sculpted abs, the millionaire’s vacation or House Beautiful; you are perfect as you are.
The media wants you to feel imperfect because discontent with yourself fuels sales. It is a form of Twisted Thinking called “Raising the Goal Post.”
Twenty years ago, I was sent to a management training that preached raise your expectations of your employees a millimeter at a time. This form of training is based on Kaizen (Chinese and Japanese meaning “change for better). The underlying philosophy is that everyone can improve, every job can be done better.
Sounded too good to be true, so I asked what about the employees who reached their limit when it came to doing better, I was ignored. Not a question the trainer – from Columbia University’s Business School wanted to address. He never answered my question. A power play.
At the time my brother was in charge of safety at Scott Paper. . Scott Paper managers had also been trained to use Kaizen. I asked him about what happened to employees’ under such a regime. My brother said, when you reached your highest level you and could do no better you quit, fired, or fell prey to injuries. He had tracked injury rates since the implementation of Kaizen at Scott Paper and thought it a money losing proposition, but few agreed with him.
As he was telling me this, I remember Peter’s Principle, a concept in management whereby promotions are based on the candidate’s ability to do their current job and not on what is needed to do the next higher job.
This means employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively; as Peter pointed out ” … managers rise to the level of their incompetence.”
EMOTIONAL FITNESS training TIPS
Emotional fitness tip one: Practice imperfection. Think good enough, when obsessed with getting anything a bit more perfect. Use “Good enough” as a mantra.
Emotional fitness tip two: Rate how near enough is good enough. Here’s the Rating Scale poster.
Emotional fitness tip three: Improve your ability to see when perfectionism is playing a part in your life. Challenge delusions of perfection on the media and in real life. Look for twisted thinking in all media. Look for people seeking perfection and say gently, “Good enough seem best in this situation” or something to that effect.
Emotional fitness tip four: Continue to pursue the best you can be. We need goals and ideals are part of setting a goal. However, all goals must be based on a realistic picture of your abilities. If you sing off tune, you will not become the next Voice or American Idol.
Emotional fitness tip five: Focus on your life’s mission rather than the everyday goals that might not matter in the long run. Think about buying my ebook How to Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals. It will cost you $2.99 which is less than a latte and a bit more important in living the good life.
Delusions of perfection are particularly painful because it taps into childhood’s reservoir of shame. According to Jerome Kagan, human development specialist, children struggle with shame as they enter the threes. That is when children realize while powerless over some things, they are quite capable of doing the unthinkable over younger or weaker beings.
For a three-year old the unthinkable is the desire to do away with the people who keep you from doing what you want. The only ones you have power over at that age are younger siblings and small animals. Kagan points out a strong counter emotion is needed to keep from acting on violent impulses which is why shame emerges at this particular age and stage.
Also at that age any failure to do something perfectly creates shame, not being good enough. Shame is all about having to be perfect and fearing other people’s response when you are imperfect.
First parenting tip: Say “Good try” twice as often as you say “Try harder.”
Second parenting tip: If you child is engaged in competitive sports, counter The Winning is everything mentality with “Having fun is winning even when you lose.”
Third parenting tip: Teach rating scales early on.
Fourth parenting tip: With those moving into the changing thoughts of adolescence engage in conversations about what matters, sweating the small stuff.
Fifth parenting tip: Children of all ages can be caught up in perfectionism. Be alert to the possibility a child perfectionism is leading to the mental health disorder called OCD. Here is a handout, I used when teaching a Challenging Children Course.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO
Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.
POST INSPIRATION from this Word Press Daily Post Prompt: Idyllic – what does your ideal community look like? How is it organized, and how is community life structured? What values does the community share?
Obviously, I want an imperfect but good enough community that practices tolerance and is kind to all. Stay strong all and remember what matters.