Saturday, December 4, 2010

Worth Doing Poorly

                                                       Butterfly MiniMask  (1 1/2 by 2 1/4)

Take what you like and leave the rest

Some time ago, someone gave me a gift which has driven me crazy and may have saved my sanity.

 I have wrestled with it for over twenty years. Now, I will pass it on to you.  But first, allow me to tell you a story. 

There was once a young man who knew that his father loved him very much, but the father, being a inarticulate man, never showed his affections.  After a glorious ceremony where the son graduated at the top of his class, the father came over to him. After a moment, the father awkwardly put his arm around his son's shoulders. He stood stiffly for a moment and then said, "Son, I'm Proud of you."

Then he removed his arm and walked off without looking back. 

Stunned, the son stared after his father, then shook his head and joined his friends in celebrating. 

Sadly, soon after, the father died of a sudden heart attack. 

Now that moment, that awkward, uncomfortable moment became a diamond in the son's memory. True, the father had not shown his affection in a smooth, polished manner, but he had Tried.

And that meant everything to the son. 

A few years ago, I was becoming more and more frustrated with a present I was making for my mother. Getting very angry, I finally tossed it across the room, saying, "This stupid thing! I'll never get it right! I might as well not even try!" 

"Now, now", came a voice, "You know that anything really worth doing is worth doing poorly."

 I looked up to see a friend standing there. "You mean 'doing well'" I corrected him. 

"No.", he said gently but firmly, "I meant what I said. 'Anything Worth Doing, is Worth Doing Poorly'" 

I don't know about you, but that idea really bothered me.  Aren't we always supposed to try our best?  Aren't we always expected to succeed?  Or at least come very close?

But the more I thought about it, the more I had to agree. 

All too often, we get caught up in trying to do everything just right, trying to get it perfect.

While this sounds good, the results are that many folks simply stop trying altogether.

We stop singing in public, because we might hit the wrong note.
We don't try that new game, because we might not be good at it.
We don't tell people how much they mean to us, because it might make us feel silly. 

We hurt ourselves by this 'expectation of perfection'. We block out experience that might be fun or instructive. We rob ourselves of the sheer joy of belting out a song, even if we can't sing a note.

And we hurt others by not letting them know how very important they are in our lives. 

So what if it's not perfect? So what if we look silly?

To the son who received his father's love, that moment was worth all the awkwardness it caused his father. 

We don't need to be perfect.  We need to grow. We can't grow unless we try things.

                 So this is my gift to you: 

Remember, anything really Worth Doing, is Worth Doing Poorly. 

So Be It

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