Sunday, 18 April 2021

Perfectionism, anxiety and judgement hold you back

 I subscribe to the Nutreats newsletter, which arrives in my email inbox weekly - usually on a Friday. It is compiled by sisters Feige and Zissy Lewin. There is always a recipe (these two cook up a storm) and also book reviews (they devour books like silkworms on a mulberry leaf). Two of my favourite sections of the newsletter include '9 Things to Read This Week' and their Listicle.

The 9 Things To Read This Week section includes links to articles across a range of topics. Through this I've been introduced to a variety of topics that may not have ever crossed my mind. I don't always read them all - I pick-and-choose and will usually read four or five of the nine.

I opened the link for 'Why the Idea of Laziness Is a Lie' - #6 on this week's list. 

The article is a good one -  a Q&A interview with psychologist Devon Price on his book 'Laziness doesn't exist'. I can totally recognise many errors in my ways where almost every minute of my day is spent being productive and I can barely handle to watch a show on Netflix without doubling-up by doing something (crochet, fixing/making/doing something). 

In the first Q&A, Price answers the question asked of where the idea of laziness originated. His answer includes the following:

"Many of the things that we call laziness, such as procrastination, are often driven by perfectionism and anxiety. When we look at someone who won’t get started on a research paper because they’re super anxious and they don’t know how to begin—even though they care a great deal about getting the job done perfectly—we call them lazy."

I'm generally a go-getter and I jump into projects with gusto. But, there have been a bunch of things over the past few years that I have been a real slacker on. Sure, I need to do them, but there is a pecking order of tasks that need to be done that are more urgent.

Nonetheless, I have identified the elements that have held me back and I'd add judgement to the two items listed above by Price of perfectionism and anxiety.  

I have not been lazy with my time, but I have procrastinated because of the lack of extended chunks of time, lack of energy, lack of urgency, lack of confidence and fear of judgement. 

Of course, I like to do things perfectly, but I have also learned to settle for sub-perfect in some cases - like when making a 'how-to' or explanatory video. The viewer just wants an answer to their question; they don't need an Oscar-award winning production.

I recently made a video about installing a rudder kit for our Vagabond kayaks. I've got a few kits out and I urgently needed to make a video so that the recipients can get on with it. I was 'scared' to even begin making it - paralysed by anxiety over judgement more than perfectionism. 

When I finally got up the gumption, I shot it on my 'happy snappy' Olympus Tough camera - not a super high-quality video camera. For the internet, the quality is perfect but I'd been led into disregarding this camera because only high-end would be good enough.

Except for the first clips, I shot the rest on my own, in my backyard, using a tripod. It took hours to figure out the best angle and set up the tripod with each element. A whole day down and I had the shots in the bag.

I had never done a rudder installation myself. Sure, I created the rudder kit and I've seen the assemblers at the factory doing an installation, but it is something else to drill into a kayak (my friend's!) yourself (especially when you haven't got much experience with drilling).

I shot the video outside, during the day and managed to keep to the shade. With all the outside sounds, like dogs barking, I'd decided to do the instructions as a voiceover. 

As I couldn't get the sound to record properly on my computer - using the computer microphone or a plug-in one that my friend gave me, I resorted to recording on my phone - using the plug-in mic - and then emailing the files to my computer. Record, re-record, re-record... 

At the end of it all, I now have a pretty decent 11-minute video that clearly shows a person how to install a rudder kit at home. It is easy enough and the instructions are sufficiently clear that even I can follow it - haha haha

On the video, did I show and say everything correctly? Did I say or do anything wrong? Could I have done it better?

The important thing is that the video is done and it provides clear instruction. I had been so worried about judgement and about what I'd created being ripped apart and criticised. Then what? Do it all again? This is just one example of how I have been held back time and time again. It really is so stupid - but it is there.

When it comes to creating public content like this, I need to be more like the thousands of people who put themselves out there on the internet every. single. day. 

Yes, I need to be more like the honey badger. Honey badger don't care. Honey badger just does her thing.  

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