How do you envision the time to be perfecto? Is it when the clock strikes 12 and out of the blue God has granted you immense luck, all resources you have ever needed pops out of nowhere let it be money or time and motivation starts coursing through your veins? But we all know that as much as we wish that’s the case, ‘perfect’ time simply doesn’t exist. As the saying goes, ‘When you’re young, you have time and energy but no money. In middle age, you have money and energy but no time. In old age, you have money and time but no energy’. Imperfection in time will always be a constant.
But should we let ‘imperfection’ hold us back? In my previous article, I’ve explored how perfectionism can paralyze us. In this one let’s talk about how waiting for the ‘perfect’ time can do the same and the necessary steps to take to prevent it.
Firstly, it is vital to realize ‘perfect’ time is a myth. Rather, most of the time, it is the excuses that emerge out of our own fears and self-doubts that gives us the illusion of ‘imperfect’ time. The last time I had the opportunity to go back to Carnatic Vocal classes, my excuses were ‘but it has been 10 years of no practice’ or ‘you’re having a hectic semester and assignments are piling up’ or ‘you’re probably going to be the oldest in the class, it’ll be so embarrassing’. This may not be the ‘perfect’ time, I told myself. The excuses created an illusion of ‘imperfect’ time for me to pursue my goal of improving at singing. But when the excuses were dissected open, what remained was my self-doubt of sucking at something, fear of failure to manage my time properly, and fear of potentially embarrassing myself in front of a bunch of kids.
Besides, what is wrong with the now? Most of the time, in comparison with the now that is deemed very imperfect, the future is much more imperfect. Going back to my experience, with the Movement Control Order (MCO) in place, the classes were online and much more accessible. I somehow had promised myself to include non-academic-related activities in my routine to keep my sanity throughout the pandemic. And I somehow have to start somewhere if I wanted to sing better, so why not now? The now was much more suitable than a potential time in the future that I miraculously hope to have everything figured out. But when you keep hoping for the ‘perfect’ time to show up soon, you’re going to end up waiting for a cold day in hell that will only hold you back from pursuing your goals.
Here’s how you stop waiting for the ‘perfect’ time.
Know and understand your goals
‘Goals’ is a very broad term that can mean so many things to us depending on our needs and desires. They can also have varying timelines. It becomes difficult to manage and follow up especially when we have too many of them. And even in the cases when the time ‘seems’ perfect, your failure to have known and understood your goals can still hold you back. Thus, it is important to set SMART goals. Not the kind that needs you to be intellectually gifted, but Specific (unambiguous and well-defined goals), Measurable (have criteria that will help measure your progress), Attainable (not impossible to attain), Realistic (relevant and within reach), and Timely (clearly defined timelines) goals. Besides, setting short-term goals can also aid in achieving our long-term goals. When you have your goals figured out, it is easier to get to work regardless of the timing.
We previously discussed how most excuses to not pursue our goals due to imperfect time emerges from our own fears and self-doubts. It is definitely impossible to expect ourselves to live without them given that they are a part of our daily experiences. But the point here is, as much as we have to allow spaces for them to exist, we shouldn’t be letting them take the wheels of our lives. Reflecting here means two different things. Firstly, similar to my personal experience of pursuing my goal to improve my singing, question if there is indeed a more perfect time than now. Maybe there is but this question allows us to identify if our excuses are legit or we’re just afraid and running away instead.
Secondly, if you did identify that your excuses are emerging from fears and self-doubts, reflect on whether they should triumph over your dreams and your future. The reason being, one day when we have so little time left on this planet, we won’t regret the things we did but the things we didn’t do. My fear of failure in organising forums became insignificant in comparison to the impact it would have on many people. Someday, I know I wouldn’t regret not doing this when I had the chance.
Sometimes, the major part of our fear is fear of failure and imperfection itself. Meaning, you fear shortcoming and the imperfect performance that leads you to project those fears onto the timing. You end up labelling the timing as imperfect instead. Yes, learning to sing better with a bunch of kids may sometimes feel embarrassing but the point here is that I’m at least learning. I’m putting myself through anxiety-inducing situations for personal growth and mastery and even if I might not be the best there, I’m better than the previous versions of me. Stop expecting to excel at all of your goals. There is nothing wrong with learning or achieving something for the sole purpose of the joy you derive from doing it. And you don’t have to be the best at it to enjoy doing it. At the end of the day, the experiences and the lessons we learn from our journey of achieving our goals are what matters.
This is the most crucial step of all. All the previous steps become irrelevant if you don’t translate your goals into actions. Learn to take the opportunities when they show up regardless of whether it is the most perfect timing. And remember, the first step is the hardest of all but when you take that, everything else flows.
Let’s stop chasing the notion of ‘perfect’ time that does not exist and start working on our goals now. Knowing and understanding your goals, reflecting, embracing imperfection and acting is where you start. You are meant for greatness regardless of the timing. Don’t let the fears and self-doubts tell you otherwise.
Jananie Chandrarao is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
Register at headliner.newswav.com to become one of our content writers now!
*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.