Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, September 09, 2010

scattershot

Don't the news media have anything better to do than feed the ego of one nut in Florida? Let him burn Korans or Bibles or whatever. Just don't cover it. There are lots more important things going on in the world.

Where do we come off refusing to allow Muslims to build a mosque on property that they already own? First Ammendment, folks! Freedom of religion. This is one size fits all. It applies to my religion and yours and his and everyone's. OK, maybe not to those folks who want to sacrifice cats or babies, but that's covered under other laws anyhow.

The Indians want to carry on their culture with whale hunts? As long as they do it the way their ancestors did, without outboard motors or gunpowder or high-tech flotation devices, then let them maintain the culture. The whales used to have a fighting chance, and the hunt really was a test of man versus nature.

OK, enough of random opinions that have been seeking expression. Yesterday, Donna Lee posted on her blog that she is trying to follow four principles. The one that really resonated with me was, "Do your best." As a chronic "underachiever" I have learned to hate that notion. It releases the bitter hyper-critical perfectionist in me who is never satisfied and can't be pleased. As I told Donna Lee, I tend to keep that part of my psyche tied on a short rope with a choke chain. Instead, when dealing with people, I try to love them as best I can. When playing with creativity, I just release myself to the fun. If I tried to do my best in my writing, I would never get a word put down. The only way you get better is by practice, and the only way you are going to be able to practice is by being willing to turn out crap on the way toward perfection. If you refuse to pick up the knitting untill you can do a perfect work, your muscles will never have a chance to learn how to manipulate the needles. You have to be willing to do mal-formed scarves and holey hats until you get the hang of it. If the love of the work inspires you to take something apart and do it over to bring it closer to your ideal, well then, good on you! But there's a lot to be said for doing good enough.

Nothing is ever truely perfect. I just realized that "Do your best," is not the same as "Do it perfect." A lot of furniture is now getting re-arranged in my head. But that bitter perfectionist still wears the choke-chain.

11 Comments:

  • At 9:33 AM , Anonymous Lisa Nowak said...

    The hard part of "do your best" is when have I reached my best? And how much time and effort do I have to waste before I realize I'm not making any more progress?

    When I was racing, a friend told me that you knew you'd pushed the car as far as it could go when it spun out. Until you spun out, you didn't know if you were doing your best. I thought spinning was a mistake. He thought it was an accomplishment.

    Unfortunately not all things are as cut and dried as spinning a race car. Sometimes there's no obviously clue that you've done your best.

     
  • At 9:45 AM , Anonymous tlbw said...

    I wonder if Donna is referring to Don Miquel Ruiz's Four Agreements. I can do without the hereditary Toltec shaman business - though I imagine it sells in California. The principles,however, which I have seen in another version created to traditional Zuni wisdom, are really impressive.
    1) Be impeccable with your word...speak with integrity, say only what you mean.
    2)Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you...(Wow! this one is so hard!)
    3)Don't make assumptions...
    communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.
    4)Always do your best. Your best is going to change from momemt to moment...simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret. (Also so hard - don't we all have 20-20 hindsight and engage in the "what if I had done this instead of that" monologue?)
    Ruiz expands these statement and I know you can goggle The Four Agreements and get the complete statement. There is of course a book but I find the statements as he gives them to be very clear. Not easy. Not even comforting. But days when I feel I have lived close to these guidelines I do have fewer self-criticisms at the end of the day. Add the basic principle of all major religions, "Do unto others..." and I think you've got it covered. No, not easy.

     
  • At 9:56 AM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    A bitter perfectionis in your head? You have one of those too? I feed mine too many cookies and tell that heifer to shut up or say something constructive.

    She eats instead.

     
  • At 10:43 AM , Blogger Lucia said...

    As the saying goes, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I would say the important part there is your: do the best you can, in this world, in this lifetime. And look upon it, and know that it is good. Or, if it's not good, figure out why, and then decide what to do about it. Trying again is commendable, but tossing it in the trash under cover of darkness is definitely an option.

    At least that's the way I look at it. Ymmv, of course.

    Verification string: gringsti. Nervous tourists south of the border.

     
  • At 11:40 AM , Blogger Rose Lefebvre said...

    "Do your best" only mens to do as good as you are able and does not require perfection--Thank God!!! I find perfection a way too high standard for me.
    Hey, isn't that a boy scout oath? My son used to say "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all time, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."

     
  • At 1:05 PM , Blogger LA said...

    Hey....I just do the best I can do at that moment on any given day. Sometimes I'm GREAT and sometimes I'm not. It is what it is!

     
  • At 2:33 PM , OpenID JudithRcns said...

    LOL, we think alike. I always tell beginning knitters - "the only way you can learn to fix mistakes is to make a LOT of mistakes". Go for it!

     
  • At 5:57 PM , Blogger Donna Lee said...

    The interesting thing about doing your best is that "your best" may change from day to day. Somedays, my "best" may be to get up and shower and put on clean clothes. Other days, I may do more. I am a perfectionist about some things and I can let some things slide. I think for me, doing my best means just doing the best I can at any one point in time. And forgiving myself for those times when my best is less than I'd like. I am probably my own harshest critic.

    And tlbw, it is a little hokey if you read all the mystic stuff in the book. I like the book for the basics. I tend to skip over all the 'wisdom of the ages' stuff and just apply what I can use in my own life.

     
  • At 3:00 AM , Blogger Bells said...

    i'm inclined to agree about the Koran burning. Don't give the guy any air time at all - every moment just feeds him!

    i've been thinking about Donna Lee's post since I read it.

    My best doesn't have to mean perfection. I just think if I try and feel satisfied that I gave it a good go then that's enough for me.

     
  • At 8:37 AM , Blogger KnitTech said...

    The reason why the burning is a big deal is their belief system. What is being burned is really the THING, not just a symbol. Which takes literalism to a whole new meaning.

    Do your best... =^.^=

     
  • At 8:15 AM , Blogger Alwen said...

    That perfectionist really gets in the way sometimes.

    I am all the time reminding myself that a good-enough action that works is better than a perfect action that I never take.

     

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