Stuck in a creative hamster wheel! We have all been there! We have a project that are close to your heart and that we have been working on for ages. We have fine-tuned it and haven’t left anything to chance. Every single detail has carefully been worked through. The project was finished months ago, but you have continued to sharpen and adjusting it. Soon, soon it is ready for the public to see. Just a little more and everyone will love it and have nothing to complain about.
We have all been there! Often its connected to a personal project, that is important to us as a person. We work, we struggle, we re-write, re-phrase, change colors, adjusting contrast, switching music, re-arranging clips – we never stop adjusting things! To work thoroughly with the detail and don’t leave careless mistakes in your work, is of course important. We must make sure that what we create keep a certain level of craftmanship that we feel is aligned with what we want to accomplish. What’s not good is to never stop adjusting things and never show what we have made.
The perfectionist who was stuck in a hamster wheel
To handle setbacks and especially handle rejection isn’t the easiest task to do. We tend to take it very personally, even if that’s not the cause most of the times. As a creative we put our very soul into what we create, especially personal projects. To then receive negative feedback on it, hits us extra hard, and we tend to fall in to perfectionism – in a bad way. Where our insecurity and fear for rejection is what drives us in an infinite loop of adjustments.
This can lead to that we don’t dare to create the things that might mean the most to us. As we don’t want to put our heart into something that someone in the comment section don’t think it’s as fantastic as we do. That’s why we sit in countless hours, days, weeks and months with adjustments and finetuning, just to make it a liiiiiitle bit better. We have a tunnel vision set on the tiny details, that for the audience, may not have any meaning for how the will receive what you created – but for you, the perfectionism, is everything.
It doesn’t matter how much we micro-adjust the contrast in the photo, change a comma here and there or if your logo shall appear 00.04:43 or 00.04:45 in your video, it will never end! You will never be satisfied enough to dare to display what you create for the public. Your project, along with all the others you made, will just take up space on your hard drive.
Learn to make mistakes
How weird and wrong it may sound, learning to make mistakes is the way out of the perfectionist’s hamster wheel. Within psychology and therapy a method called exposure therapy is used. This means that, in controlled and in small doses, you are being exposed to what you are afraid of.
The same method can be used by you as a creative to get out of the hamster wheel and the loop of infinite adjustments. With his I mean that you on purpose will do a bad job or bad craftsmanship that’s not up to the industry standard. But that you shall train on making small, harmless mistakes in your everyday life. For example, spelling a word wrogn in an e-mail, practice on getting rejected in a situation that’s not involve your creations (like asking someone on a date or a cheaper deal on a purchase).
By being exposed to setbacks, rejection and making mistakes, you will see and learn that it isn’t end of the world if not everyone loves everything that you do- because that is how reality looks. That you got a no thank you, when asking someone out or asking about a better price on that camera, wasn’t so painful as you thought. That the person did reply to your e-mail even that you spelled wrong wrong ang had bad sentence structure. Step by step you will learn that it’s OK that not everyone will love what you do and that these minor mistakes (often) don’t have a significant matter.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter if the world love what you have created or not, the only thing that matters is that you do it! Bit, don’t be afraid to show what you have created and don’t get stuck in a creative hamster wheel!