We’ve all been bombarded with advice from people, but I have to say some of the worst advice I’ve ever received was “Do it right or don’t do it at all.” My mom told me this all the time. I’m sure she just told me so I would do my chores correctly so she wouldn’t have to go back and clean again. But seriously, it has been probably the most crippling advice I’ve ever received.
In theory, it seems like sound advice. But in practice it is so incredibly limiting. I procrastinate like no one’s business and after lots of soul searching, journaling and reflection it is this simple sentence that has caused me so much grief. If you are a procrastinator, you probably have had some of these thoughts:
- Why can’t I just get things done?
- I’m really not lazy but why don’t I just (_fill in the blank_).
- Tomorrow, I’m going to be a better person and get to things right away.
- Why am I such a loser? I can’t even (_fill in the blank_).
Procrastination causes guilt and self loathing.
What does my procrastination have to do with the sage advice of my mother? Well, that wonderful advice has caused me to be a perfectionist. If you’ve seen my house you’re probably thinking “yeah right!” But its true. I procrastinate cleaning because I can’t just half clean…I have to do it right. I often don’t start laundry because I know that time is limited and then I won’t be doing it right. I put off inputting my receipts because if I don’t finish then I didn’t do it right. You get the point don’t you?
Its taking me nearly 40 years to figure this out!
What sage advice should be given instead?
Doing something is better than nothing and you can always learn from your mistakes!
Now whenever I notice that I’m procrastinating I say this mantra. More often than not, I get up and start doing whatever it is I should be doing.
So to all you mothers, fathers, sisters, uncles, etc. that are bestowing words of wisdom on the younger generation, please, oh please, do not tell them to do it right or don’t do it at all. Encourage them to try to do anything and that mistakes are a natural part of the process of being human!