On imperfection

Is it challenging to write a book? It depends. If you only want to be the best selling author, it is pretty hard. It took many years to write, practice, edit and polish. In reality, nobody would read what you write if you were a nobody. However, it is easy to write a book by simply writing 50 words a day or one article per week. It is achievable to write persistently, and a year later, it would be enough articles to combine as a book, even a series of collections.

Is it challenging to give a speech? Yes and no. Yes, speaking in front of people is not easy, and I hope to deliver a perfect speech with every word correct and every sentence to impress everyone. Yet, it is not impossible to speak about a topic for only 2 minutes. Anyone is capable of doing so no matter your voice, your body gesture or use of rhetorical devices or not. It is a success already as long as the audience get your key message. You don’t need to overthink and let the fear of public speaking overwhelm you.

Is it hard to be healthy? Again, it seems to require a lot of motivation to go to the gym every day, get out of our comfortable bed, and give the sweat and effort to exercise. But you know, running for 20 minutes or a couple of push-ups per day is achievable. Once you start the baby step, you will get the momentum to keep going and build a good habit.

Is it hard to date girls? No one said it was easy, and you may not think it would be this hard. You are confident and comfortable with your friends, but you are scared to utter a word when there is a beautiful lady. She is not going to bite, but you worry about embarrassing yourself and not taking the risk to talk to her. It could be risky if she already has a boyfriend, or she may be a lesbian. And most likely, she would not be impressed by your awkwardness. Thus she would not want to sleep with you. But this is not the main point. You simply want to have fun and engage in good conversation with a good vibe.

The list of activities could go on and on, while there is one thing in common. I have high expectations of myself. I am a perfectionist. I care about the result, care about what others think, care about myself too much with self-awareness. It may push me to be a high achiever, yet it may also put me in procrastination. I did not start writing until I had a good idea. I did not volunteer to speak if I did not feel fully prepared. I did not go to the gym with many excuses about the weather. I did not dare to talk to strangers if I just wanted to impress others. This fear stops me from taking the first step. In reality, it is not thinking that leads to action. Thinking itself would not lead to action.

It is the action itself that leads to thinking and leads to further action. Once I started writing, speaking, exercising, and socializing, I realized it was not as bad as I initially imagined. I began to accept my article may not get many likes, my speech may not win the international contest, my body would not get the six-pack, my girlfriend most likely not a model. But it does not matter. The result is out of our control, and it is a bit of luck and statistics.

What matters is to start to enjoy the process: focus on writing is therapeutic, speaking to deliver a message is valuable, exercising makes me feel energetic, and socializing is simply fun. Accept the imperfection. It helps me overcome my imposter syndrome, the feeling of being a fraud and worrying about making mistakes. Even Albert Einstein suffered from imposter syndrome as a successful genius. Why should ordinary people not feel confident with our achievements?

What is success? The outcome does not define it. We are successful by making progress: a bit better in writing, a bit practice in speaking, a bit of improvement in health and a bit more attractive as a man. Have an open mindset and continuously improve. It is a success. You and I could achieve it.

By Victor Leung

Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science. AWS Certified Solution Architect with experience in building products from scratch and serving as a charismatic leader.

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