My Audible “read” of the week is Susan Cain’s “Bittersweet.” One of the topics she discusses is about “effortless perfection.” She explains it as this unrealistic state we attempt to achieve in order to fool others into thinking we have everything under control and life is cool. Underneath, we are all “train wrecks!” Okay, I speak for myself…
Yup, I do that! I didn’t realize that it was a thing and I didn’t realize that I did it! But it made me laugh. I started to conjure up images of people that appear to be effortlessly perfect! In the swimming world, Michael Phelps comes to mind, effortlessly swimming the impossible butterfly stroke at superhuman speed. Then I think of the years of grueling training to which he has subjected his mind and body. His world fame came at huge price to his sanity. But he is an icon of this era.
I think of famous musicians who sing their hearts out on stage in front of audiences all over the world. Yet, I just have to tell my phone to play their song and it effortlessly plays across the airwaves, And I think to myself, how many times have they sung that song over and over and over? How many times do you think Mick Jagger has sung “Satisfaction?” How hard that must be to tour the world and be away from home for so long. How many hours spent rehearsing and perfecting?
I look around at my coworkers who show up with a smile each day, knowing that they are making a difference, while carrying a mountain of endless stress brought on by an attempt to keep home life and work life in balance. The resilience they display is mind blowing. And they come back the next day and do it again and again and again. They seem to do it with ease.
Why do we strive for effortless perfection? Go on, admit it! You do it too!