This is a short one but nevertheless important. To me, at least.

One mistake, and you are mistaken

There are two types of people. One type lives in a perfect world and puts a 100% effort to maintain that world in a perfect state. The other one lives mostly in a 20/80 world and is less careless about what they spend their time and effort on.

Which side do you belong to? Which side would you choose if given a chance?

In  a "perfect" world nothing less than perfect is acceptable and everything less than perfect is the end of the freaking world. I was that one super nerdy 'i-know-everything' kid and I had a 4 out of 5 (it's like having a B when you want an A) once in my middle school. It was a disaster. Not only living in that high-maintenance world put a lot of pressure on me, but I was focusing on an absolutely wrong metric. After all, what mattered the most were knowledge, ability to pass exams and enter the university. Not the marks.

Well, the university taught me a lot and I finally could be able to let go off that perfect world with perfect marks. And I thought that I finally found the balance of value and effort.

The strange thing is that you actually never let go off that stupid habit. It pops up somewhere else, and you don't even notice it until you're in a complete disaster again. For example, you have a good friend and losing your friend or making him/her uncomfortable anyhow scares the shit out of you. So you create a "perfect" relationship for your friend, putting all the effort to make him/her comfortable, sacrificing everything you could, trying hard to avoid mistakes, trying hard to correct mistakes, until another disaster comes making your worst nightmares come true. A sudden realization: "I've been there. It's the end of the world. Again".

Or, say, you're musician. And in the middle of your performance you make a mistake. Will you be able to let go off that mistake making it less noticeable? A 20/80 person can and will do that. A 100%-person's world is ruined by that point so nothing matters anymore. He/she could even start playing a piece from scratch making it even worse.

Well, somebody could say, 'It was just in your head, so the only thing you needed was changing your attitude towards failures and mistakes, then it wouldn't be so stressful anymore'. Well, yeah. Kind of.

How do you think a person becomes resilient to failures and learns how to handle them? How do people react so wisely to stressful and even life-threatening situations, making rational calculated decisions quickly, with a cold mind? They aren't born with that ability. They've been there before many times in a less dangerous scale. They've learnt problem solving patterns and that particular way of thinking by making mistakes in the past. Living in a perfect world will never give you a chance to acquire problem-solving skills.

An important takeaway here is to be careful if you're a perfect world resident. If you find yourself putting loads of effort into something, you should at least think 'May be I need to shift my focus on something more important. May be I should address that problem differently and face it rather than avoid it. May be I need to make a mistake and try to handle it so I could see the outcome rather than see my world burnt to the ashes one day'.

Another important thing is to be less scared of doing something you are not sure you are capable of. There will be mistakes. Sometimes they will be terrible. Mistakes are not the end of the world. You'll learn from them.

P.S. Being a musician is a good way to become a sudden trainwreck survivor, so I would recommend a struggling 100%-person like myself to make music his/her hobby. Here's why: