Ryan Schuetzler

Researcher and techie extraordinaire

On Perfectionism

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"If your fidelity to perfection is too high, you never do anything." Those words hit me hard when I read them last week. This is a constant struggle I've had for the last couple years. In my head I have a perfect vision of a completed research project or paper. I knew, though, that there was no chance that the paper I wrote would be nearly as perfect as the one in my head, so it was easier to just leave it there as a perfect dream than to do deal with my horrible writing or completely cobbled-together knowledge of statistics.

The same is true of my blog posts, and so I never wrote them. I'd have a half-baked idea for a post that was magically transformed into an eloquent, powerful, and moving post that would influence the lives of millions. Yeah, that's not gonna happen. But that's what my mind would do. So rather than be a mediocre blogger in real life, I was more content (but not really) to be inspirational in my head.

No longer. This blog post is one of my first on my journey to accept my imperfect real self. It isn't everything I imagined it would be in my head. It will probably be read by fewer than three people. But it is something I have written, and now it exists in the real world.

To quote Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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