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  • Rishi Gaurav Bhatnagar

A mental model to recover from perfectionism

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

This past week, I have been sitting with a very painful realisation.

Some of my best work most likely will never see the light of day, and it is my fault completely. Why? Perfectionism. For some reason, if something is not going to be perfect, I'd not publish it or worst, not even start. (Can you believe I actually wrote a long article about perfectionism 2 years ago, but haven't published it because of perfectionism? This is too much.)

I know for a fact that perfectionism has actively kept me away from doing my best work. Till, Varun, helped me with a mental model to get myself out of the toxic cycle. With some of my own experiences, I feel ready to share the mental model that seems to be working so far.

The mental model:

1. When dealing with unknown variables, lean into iterations. Get the first dirty draft out, and iterate it so that it can become close to perfect. The value here is not in perfection, but in creating something of value.

2. When dealing with known variables, lean into perfectionism, but time box it in two parts - the first part for a draft, the second part for value addition. Imagine you give yourself 5 hours to get something out. Spend 60% on getting the first draft out to the best of your ability. And then step away, give yourself a break, go for a walk or do something/anything else. Come back and add value for the remaining time - edit/rewrite/find a new way to communicate, and ship it!

I hope this stays with more you in implementation than it has with me. It is incredibly hard to not lean onto perfectionism-not shipping-and self-induced guilt cycle.

I hope your mind does not get in the way of your greatest work.

I hope this helps you grow and become your best self <3

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