The pursuit of perfection is something that so many of us often get caught up in while in reality there is no room for that sort of pursuit in this game that we’re playing. Perfection does not exist.
How many times have you found yourself waiting for the perfect time to do something, for the perfect opportunity, for the perfect person to walk into your life, or waiting until that project that you have been working on is ‘perfect’ before you hand it in?
Maybe you’re like me and you’re a trainer or a coach, when was the last time that you led a perfect class? That you crushed a one on one session with a client and delivered everything perfectly? This doesn’t have to relate to the gym. When was the last time you delivered a perfect presentation at work? Or when was the last time you nailed a perfect run while downhill mountain biking, or made a perfect play on the field?
The truth is that if you had some sort of mental representation of what it looked like to do whatever it is that you do perfectly, that you probably didn’t quite live up to the standard that you expected of yourself.
This is where so many of us get caught up in chasing perfection. We keep thinking that if we take another rep, rewrite another portion of our project, or practice our speech just one more time that we will be able to perform it perfectly without any flaws.
But the kicker is that we get caught up in this vicious cycle of trying to get the thing done perfectly. We rationalize with ourselves, and often others, as to why it’s okay to take make another attempt at a lift until we beat ourselves into exhaustion. Herein lies our problem.
We mistake our pursuit of perfectionism as a pursuit of excellence. When we are constantly pursuing perfectionism we’re focused on the outcome rather than being focused on the process.
Whenever we first pick up a new skill, in this case we’ll use a squat, we do so with the intent of getting better at it. Somewhere along the way we end up chasing doing it perfectly- which isn’t a bad idea- however, at some point we get so stuck on doing it so perfectly that we end up inhibiting our potential for growth.
Said another way, you can get stuck on trying to perform a 100kg back squat perfectly for 6 months all because you forgot to take a breath in between each rep. At some point that stimulus of 100kg isn’t going to have as strong of an impact on you and your progress will stall and eventually start to deteriorate.
So how do we combat this? How do we keep striving towards making progress and doing so with the intent of consistently getting better in our minds?
As we said at the start of this post. Perfection is not real. Progress. however, is real and for us to chase progress we need to fully commit ourselves to the process that is involved in attaining it.
Each time that we make the conscious effort to pursue excellence we allow ourselves the opportunity to take what we learn from the process and apply it to the rest of our lives to get better in the pursuit of whatever it is that we are trying to attain. Each time that we miss the mark of the mental image of success that we had in our heads we get an opportunity to learn from that and show up and be better next time.
Don’t let the trap of perfectionism stop you from doing whatever it is that you’re meant to be doing in the world.
Sample programming for GPP 1.0:
A) Back Squat: 3×8 @ 1,1,1,1 @ Rpe 8
B) Sumo Stance Good-morning: 3×8 @3,1,1,1 @ Rpe 8
C) I. Front Foot Elevated Split Squat: 3×8-10/side @ 2,1,1,1 @ Rpe 8
II. Stagger Stance Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbells) – 3×8-10/Side @ 3,2,1,1 @ Rpe 8
D) 5 Rounds For Time:
20 Air Squats
20 Box Jumps
20 Thrusters w’ Dumbbells 22.5kg/15kg
A) I. Push Press- 4 x 6 @ 0,1,1,1 @ 75%1rm or @ Rpe 8
II. Chest to bar pull-up- 4 x 6 @ 1,2,1,1 @ Rpe 8
B) I. Incline Dumbbell Press (Neutral Grip)- 3 x 8 @ 2,2,1,1 @ Rpe 8
II. Chest Supported Dumbbell Row- 3 x 8 @ 1,2,2,1 @ Rpe 8
C) 5 Rounds For Quality
50m Double Arm Over Head Carry
50m Farmers Carry
A) 2″ Deficit Deadlift- Build to a 5 Rep max for the day
B) Bent over barbell row- 3 x 5 @ 1,2,1,1 @ rpe 8
Dumbbell Push Press