Leonard Cohen crooned, rather perfectly:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
These are the kinds of lines that set you free.
Free from the compulsion of producing something perfect.
Free from the obligation of creating something that can not be criticized.
Free from the tyranny of making something that does not have any scope for improvements.
Free from inaction! Any action would be necessarily incomplete, happening, continuous, flawed, improvable … in short alive.
Yes, being alive is to be imperfect.
Just think for a moment about the idea of perfect. Something that does not move, does not change. What will it change towards? It is already perfect. It brings forward a picture of a person who knows everything and can not learn. What do you can something that does not change, something that remains the same? It is death. Yes, perfection is death. Imperfection is life.
Ironically, imperfection is the only perfect thing.
Think of how many times you could not get yourself to produce the symphony that you always wanted to create. Often, it is just the fear of doing something wrong. Doing something that would be criticized by people. Something that would make people laugh at you. What did you do then? You just sat quietly. Doing nothing! It was better not to do anything than do something that was not perfect. How could you?
Just imagine if you had taken the first step.
Like putting some words on paper.
Drawing some stupid face that did not look like a face.
Strumming your ukulele in a discordant note.
Written some lines of code that do not compile.
The world would not have collapsed.
People would not have ostracized you for being a traitor to the perfect humankind.
Most likely, they would have just ignored you. You would have been left alone to do your imperfect masterpiece. Just like you, they are after perfect stuff. They get plenty of that on TV, movie halls, and Spotify. They have their Sachin, Lata, Rahman, and Husain.
You would have probably done the second one.
And then the third one. …
And fourth … and fifth.
You would have created a portfolio of a hundred in no time.
What would you have lost?
You would have gained everything. Confidence, skills, a trick to stay happy. And a portfolio that contains possibilities.
Possibilities that could bring you some kind of a career.
Possibilities that bring your some mental peace, some exhilaration, some time for yourself where you are on a high.
Possibilities of belonging to a group.
Just by giving up the stupid idea of being perfect. The silly notion of not making a mistake. The foolish fear of being laughed at.
Is it really worth all the price? And most importantly, if there is no crack in you, where will the light come from?
Take a piece of paper and draw your masterpiece! Right now!