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Do it BaDly

A poem about Worth Doing Badly


Beware of virtues; they can be vices in disguise

Everyone's heard, “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” And if you want to go even further than that, let's hear from dead Navy Seal Shane Patton “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.”

First off, if you're having fun "doing something well" or "overdoing something," that's super. 

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly

That's not the problem. The problem is if you think that there's something wrong with "doing something badly" or doing it only "good enough." In fact, in most cases it's better to go for "badly" or "good enough" rather than for "doing it well" or "overdoing it."

The enemy of enjoying the process

If you insist on "high standards," often including "being efficient," not only will it often be difficult to find ways for your Now to be happy with the process (that is, difficult to achieve Now-Next integrity), you will likely avoid taking on many things because the idea of doing them "well" is too daunting or unappetizing.

The enemy of curiosity and creativity

Look at the faces and into the eyes of the children above! See their joy and exuberance for life. If an adult had been supervising them when they were painting their faces, trying to instill in them the ideas of "doing a good job," not only would that adult be numbing their spirit, he or she would also be inhibiting their curiosity and creativity.

It's not okay to be a beginner

With this idea of "doing things well," we get handcuffed into what we already know, what we already feel that we're good at. We're averse to looking foolish or silly or awkward or stupid, at least to others, if not to ourselves. We get frustrated quickly with anything that doesn't "look good" right away. We have little if any freedom to start over with something completely new.

A chronic version of perfectionism?

At least with perfectionism, we usually recognize it as such with its attendant costs. If we hold "doing things well" as some sort of ideal (as almost all of us do, fess up!), then it's even worse than perfectionism because we're largely oblivious to its chronic costs.

A choice of courage (again and again) to be willing to "do things badly"

The first step in undoing perfectionism-in-disguise is to become more sensitive to when it's affecting you. One way to do this is with Kickstarting a mental habit. When the alarm goes off, you ask yourself, "Have I been having fun today with the idea of 'anything worth doing is worth doing badly'?" 

When you notice any sense of fear or concern that others may blame you or be disappointed in you for not doing something "good enough," or when you notice your own sense of pending self-criticism if you don't do something up to par, then use Undoing fear with the words, "Holy cats and jeepers creepers, I'm so scared others might think I'm not doing this good enough!" Then follow through with the other three steps for choosing Courage

See also Undoing perfectionism.

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