Friday, March 20, 2009

Aim for Success - Not Perfection

I'd like to start this blog off with an inspiring quote:

"Aim for success not perfection...  Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person."   -Dr. David Burns

Share your comments on how this quote can be applied to YOUR artistic pursuits.


  1. This is such a good perspective to keep in mind.

    Starting out a creative project with thoughts like "this has to be perfect" or "I don't want to mess this up" or "what if this turns out to be a waste of this expensive wire?" totally strangle the creative flow.

    My best creations aren't really "my" creations. They happen when I somehow just let go of any "musts" or outcomes, and become simply a channel for whatever creative energy flows into the project.

    I don't always achieve that state, but it's lovely when it happens.

  2. I agree with Rena! I find when I am too much "in my head" when making art, the thought process actually slows me down. Sometimes trying to figure it out mentally creates creative blocks.
    During these times I have learned to simply walk away and only work on art when I am in a state of peace and free mind, then ideas flow naturally and it is much more productive and less frustrating.

  3. Lynn, thank you for starting this blog, and thanks Rena and goddessadornments for your insights, too. I am a perfectionist's perfectionist. I find it very difficult to start projects, and to finish those that begin in a class. Although I want my own work to look perfect right away, I don't hold others' work to the same strict criteria. In fact, it's hard for me to even see imperfection in others' art. I hope to follow your lead and free the artist in me.

  4. catgirl,

    I know exactly what you are talking about, especially the part about not seeing the imperfections in other's work, but lots in my own. This is especially true in my watercolor attempts. I hope to talk more about perfectionism in future blogs. I think there are a lot of us who are like this!

  5. Amen Sister...I can relate to, and feel the "paralysis by analysis" deadlock! The other intense emotion that slows or sometimes stops me is feeling overwhelmed.

    Right now I don't have much time for jewelry designing (caring for elderly parents) but I still subscribe to several jewelry mags and look at others' sites. Just when I get the creative mojo working, I then think,"Wow,I can't compete with that!" The guilt creeps in when I pass by my worktable, and see everything just lying there! Ugh.

    I often do better when someone just asks me to design them a piece with a deadline! I'm hoping for a fresh spark of creativity very soon, but may plod on even if I don't "feel" like it !

  6. Oh yes, I can identify with this...Just yesterday, one of the students in a jewelry class I was teaching drove the rest of the class crazy with her perfectionism. It was a simple wire wrap of a stone and she had never done anything like this before! Filled with angst and insecurity, she complained the entire time, turning what should have been a fun and relaxing experience into a painful ordeal for herself, and somewhat marring the experience for the others. I explored the reasons for her perfectionist tendencies with her during class, and she admitted that with every art medium she's explored, she's felt compelled to give it up because she couldn't do it "perfect" enough. How sad for her! I explained that as an artist, for me, it's all about the process and pushing the envelope to discover the boundaries of my medium. I seek that "flow" state that happens when you lose track of time! Of course, I'm concerned with the outcome, and sometimes I'm unhappy with the result, (oh well...) but often, if I'm willing to put up with a little uncertainty over the outcome, I'm happily surprised. Ironically, she seemed happy with how her project came out.

  7. Cajean and others,

    I know it's difficult, but you have to try to look at others work and not compare it to your own. That's what stopped me from pursuing a career in advertising 25 years ago. We had one hot shot in class whose drawing ability just blew everyone else away. And all you'd hear was how competitive and difficult the advertising business was to get into. My attitude caused me to quit before I even started. Not to mention this was the mid-1980's and unemployment was like it is now... That didn't help, either.

    Just think, if everyone felt this way, there would be no individual style. Everybody's art would look the same, PERFECT. That would be boring. Find your individual style, get comfortable with it and just start creating. And remember with practice your art will improve.

    I feel another blog post coming on about practice... Maybe next week.