How 1% Better Beats the Perfection Gremlin

There's a gremlin living inside your mind.

It's the gremlin that tells you unless you can be perfect, it's not worth doing!

It says "you've already messed up today, you may as well give up!"

It's quite persuasive.

So you say "fuck it!"

This is the perfection gremlin! The gremlin starts from perfect (100%) and works backwards. You get 90% in a test, and it asks you "what happened to the other 10?"

Today, try something different. Try starting from 0% and adding to that.

Try being just 1% better every day.

You don't have to be perfect. Not even close to perfect.

Just 1% better is still better. And 1% every day adds up really fast.

The gremlin won't know what hit it.

“Be Yourself” is Bad Advice

“Be yourself!”

You hear this advice a lot.

There are some things about your personality that might be so deep they're practically impossible to change.

Get to know yourself! Embrace the person you find!


If you think about it a little more, there are aspects of your personality that you think are ingrained but can be changed.

Invisible scripts you follow because “that's how I do things”. Patterns of thinking that seem like they can’t be changed.

“Be yourself” implies that you are a finished product.

How about, be the best parts of yourself. You can take the worst parts of yourself and try to change those.

Sure, on some level there is a process of learning to differentiate between your needs and desires and those of someone else.

But don't think of yourself as a persistent “I”.

The very cells of your body and just about every other aspect of your being is constantly in flux.

You are always a work in progress.

Even better than being the best parts of yourself, you can find the power to CREATE yourself.

“Create yourself.”

That's better.

Unlimited Chances

On Seth Godin's blog today

A Toyota Prius passed me at 100 miles an hour. I didn’t know a Prius could even go that fast. The driver was passing on the right, using the breakdown lane, zigging and zagging across traffic. If a car could careen, he was.

The problem with this sort of fast passage is that there’s no room for error. One mistake, one failure, and you’re out.

The other sort of rambunctious, risky forward motion is very different.

This is the work we do when we’re out on a limb with a new idea. When we’re sharing ideas that feel personal or important. This is the work of practical empathy, and most of all, of acting ‘as if’ before we’re sure.

The thing is–even though this might feel as risky as driving down the Saw Mill River Parkway at 100 miles an hour, it’s actually the safest work you can do. If you fail while trying to help, you’ll get another chance. And then another.

Unlimited chances.

This doesn't just apply to sharing ideas or work. It applies more broadly to being a human too. You can careen down the path of weight loss or some other goal. You can go very fast towards that goal.

But it's risky, you might crash.

The other kind of rambunctious risky forward motion comes when you go out on a limb with your practice. You act as if you're already who you need to be before you're sure. You practice empathy for yourself and move forward towards your goals.

You're trying to help yourself get there. If you fail while you're trying to help, you get another chance.

Unlimited chances.

Don’t Expect Others to Understand You

It's so so hard to understand yourself.

Let alone put that into words.

Let alone say them out loud to someone.

Let alone have them understand what you've said.

How can they? They're not you!

They'll never understand what you've said in the same way as you do.

As your words make their way through the other persons layers of understanding, you lose control of the meaning. You never had control in the first place.

What's fascinating is realising that the other person can understand you in a way that you aren't capable of.

That's why it's worth trying to be understood and why it's worth listening to their response.

Together, you can create something better.

When Less Effort is Better

Trying to apply a lot of effort and straining to do things can push you to learn poor movements.

Your body will find the most efficient way of doing something with what it has right now, not necessarily accounting for what could be built if you worked in a particular way. Straining to lift heavier at the cost of form means your numbers go up, but are you after numbers? Or changes in your body?

Take it easy.

Rest up.

Especially when you’re learning new movements, apply a little less effort and keep your focus at about 60-70% of total available.