Saturday, March 6, 2021

Challenge: Do Something Badly

    There are two quotes I've heard lately that have really struck me. Both have to do with pernicious perfectionism, and both I heard on ADHD-related podcasts. The first one was: 

B-minus work can change the world

    The corollary is: work that doesn't get done changes nothing. That one I heard on the I Have ADHD podcast, by host Kristen Carder, who was quoting life coach Brooke Castillo. What brings it home is how Kristen Carder shows up as a right hot mess, and let me tell you, with all her messiness she has taught me more than any other ADHD expert so far. If she had waited to get her act together before starting this podcast, I and a whole lot of other people would have lost out. 

    The second fits right in with that one: 

You don't have to be the best to do what you love

spoken by guest entrepreneur Kristen Ley on the Semi-Together podcast

    You don't even have to be original, which is nice, because there's really nothing new under the sun (quoth Qoheleth). Just like this blog post, nothing original, I'm passing on wisdom learned from someone else. But maybe you don't listen to podcasts. Or maybe I'm putting it out there in the context of my monastic eremitic life, and it hits a whole different chord than it does coming from people who are mostly talking about how to start a side-hustle or how to get things done despite having ADHD. There is always enough need in the world for what Real Me or Real You has to offer. 

    Here's another one of my favorite quotes, by Howard Thurman:

“Don't ask yourself what the world needs. 
Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, 
because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

    The world doesn't need you to ace it. The world needs you to come alive doing it. Don't worry if it seems frivolous, we do not live on bread alone. If you do what makes you happy your brightness will brighten the world a little bit. You don't need to win American Idol, just call your auntie up and rock happy birthday over the phone, and see if you don't make somebody happy. You don't have to make a million bucks, just carve out some time to explore that thing you dream about getting paid to do. 

    It means be a beginner. And can I just say, this is how my mind works, I have to add in the extra reminder for myself that being a beginner means not already knowing how to do the thing. It means doing it badly, because that's the only way you get to learn new things. It means, in the immediate context of this blog, quit fiddling with it and hit "publish." It means, oh, a million things to me. Plant a garden again this year, despite the disappointments of last year's garden. Try again to learn to play piano, because as much as I hate stumbling through the beginner piano lessons, I would dearly love to be able to play well, and doing it badly is the only way to get there.

    It means that what God demands of me is to take many long, rambling hikes through the solitary woods, reveling in the peace and quiet, marveling in all the wild diversity of nature, and forgetting about whether I'm walking fast enough for it to be "exercise," or whether my pictures are good enough to identify that moss to the species level, or whether I remember to remember the Creator of all that loveliness while I'm out there, or whether I "should" be doing something more useful with my time. I should be doing exactly that thing.

    It means on bigger things: doing all the research, saving up some money, thinking through the contingencies ... and then taking a leap of faith. Not waiting to be sure, because anyway, what's "sure"? If 2020 taught the world anything, surely it is that the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. So lay the best plan you can, and do the best job you can, but don't leave out the most important step: GO! 

Peace and Joy to you

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