The other day I was running, had a mental breakdown and started crying, had to stop and go home. Outdoors. In public. Why? Because I was having the worst run of my life while watching people in Central Park make long, smooth beautiful glides and it hit me again that I’m just not good at running. .25 miles later and all I could hear was my own voice in my head that kept saying, “You’re so bad at this. You are SO bad at this.” and then .5 miles after that I stopped because I could not make myself run one more step, started crying and walked out of the park. Complete defeat. It didn’t last long, I just walked it off and called it a day, but when I made myself think about why I let that happen, I found a pattern that I was allow to flourish that doesn’t do me, or you, any good.
This mentality of failure or perfection is exactly what kills your motivation. It’s exactly that mentality that keeps one from achieving any goals in life because there’s no such thing as going from failure to perfection. Rather, most of life’s greatest accomplishments are achieved in the striving from one to the other. All of the things I’ve learned in life came as a result of figuring out life in the natural middle ground between starting and finishing, not just when I hit the end goal. If I waited to really live my life and take a risk only after I had reached the point of perfection then I would die with not a single accomplishment to my name, and that’s not really living.
I’m not a natural runner but that shouldn’t keep me from running a half marathon. I don’t have great skin but that shouldn’t keep me feeling less beautiful than everyone else. I don’t always have something profound to write, but that shouldn’t keep me from writing, My apartment isn’t perfect but that shouldn’t keep me from entertaining. I can’t go to Paris today but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be adventurous. I don’t have endless financial resources but that shouldn’t keep me from being a generous giver.
Believing that you don’t have what you need to do what you want to do is a really, really easy out, but there’s a lot of freedom, joy and peace found in the middle and I am learning to let myself live there even when it doesn’t feel perfect.