I am a perfectionist. If you are not familiar with the term, I am not saying that I do everything perfectly; what I am saying is that I am guided by a belief that everything has to be done perfectly. You may think that this is a good thing but the truth is far from that. Perfectionism is so debilitating that it often stops me from making a start on tasks or projects because I do not believe that I can do it absolutely perfectly. This is what motivational speakers are talking about when they say that perfection is the enemy of good because while you're waiting to find perfection you're not getting anything done and therefore you are not doing good work.

Sunday was Saint Patrick's Day and it gave me a simple little reminder of why getting hung up on the little details is not very important. It is often these little details that cause perfectionism.

St Patrick's Day is Ireland's national Holiday but it may well be the only national Holiday that is celebrated all around the world. We have a reputation for partying and the world wants to join in the party.

I watched many reports on the news on Sunday which showed celebrations around the world. Everywhere the news visited, there were people celebrating Ireland's national Saint. Many places were decorated in green bunting, green flags and in the case of Chicago, and probably other cities, the river was dyed Green.

I find it fantastic that so many people around the world want to join in our national celebration. It's great to know that my own country is helping to bring so many people together for fun and enjoyment. But what I strangely noticed this year is the celebrations are not held back by some misunderstood details.

The first detail which may be misunderstood is that many people around the world assumed that Patrick himself was Irish but of course he wasn't. There are a number of different origins stories for Patrick. The one I was raised with is that he was Welsh but some people believe he was Scottish. Whichever one is true he was not from Ireland; he was from Britain.

The other incorrect detail which many Irish people themselves do not know is that the national colour of Ireland is not green. In fact, it is a particular shade of blue (although even that is up for debate). I don’t actually know why we use green.

Imagine if everybody around the world  postponed the celebrations of Saint Patrick's Day because they were unsure of his nationality and uncertain of what the national colour of Ireland was. Wouldn't that be absolutely ridiculous? It would be a case of allowing insignificant details to stop you from taking action which would,if only for a few hours, improve your life.

But if you suffer from perfectionism like I do, that is what you do on a daily basis. Because you are uncertain of small details, and how things are going to work out, you postpone the things you know you need to do; the things which will make a positive difference to your life. It doesn't matter that those details are not very important or significant at all.

The reminder I received from what I witnessed on St Patrick's Day is quite simple; don't get caught up in the details, identify the action you want to take, take that action and remember that if you choose the wrong action; life will be kind enough to give you the feedback you need to get back on track. Wouldn't life be so much easier if we all took that approach to life? 

I am trying to keep the images I saw on Saint Patrick's Day at the back of my mind to remember not to get caught up in the tiny details. I identify what's going on, then I identify what I need to do and just take action. After that, I can trust that if I stray off course, life will gently nudge me back in the right direction. Perfection is neither possible nor necessary so I hope to stop striving for it. Then, if I accidentally stumble upon it I probably won't notice anyway.


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