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July 25, 2013

Being Great Has Nothing to Do With Being Perfect




What keeps you up at night?

I wrote a piece with that title a few weeks ago for Kelly Diels about my general disinterest in small talk and how I'd prefer that all my conversations have something to do with the meaning of life or human behavior or creative banter of some sort. Those are a few of the topics on my short list of things that actually improve upon silence.

I'm hopelessly idealistic and I only like to talk about things that inspire me. Self-centered, perhaps. But what helps to round me out is that I love to talk to people about what inspires them. To see someone light up when they are talking about their passions does something to me - whether I share that passion or not. In my belly, in my heart, and behind my eyes - I feel warm and excited. Like I'm stirring a pot full of soul goodies and possibilities and enticing the true essence of that person to come out.

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This true essence is the part that most of us try to hide. We hide the most awe-inspiring, engaging, individualistic core aspects of ourselves because we've been hoodwinked into thinking that we'll weaken ourselves by sharing it. But the opposite is true. The more you share what you're about, what you stand for - with all your contradictions and inconsistencies -- the more impactful you can be.

But we think we need to be perfect first.

Before we reveal ourselves, we want to improve ourselves. Before we try something new, we have to have everyone's approval. Before we say what we really think, we have to version it to make everyone comfortable.

And before we will live fully in our truth, we think we have to evaluate the worthiness of that truth -- as if our individual journeys need to be justified. As if society, with all of its dogma and assumptions, can dictate how we should see the world and our place in it.
We need to trust our own ability to tolerate risk, uncertainty and repeated failures. We need to trust that the world will not annihilate us for having the audacity to reveal ourselves as a continuing work-in-progress. | Justine Musk
Oh, the audacity. To seek greatness rather than perfection. To explore all your shadows and define greatness for yourself - reaping the personal rewards that come with that like wisdom, self-awareness and freedom of expression. To be great, you must set aside any distracting thoughts you have about what people expect from you and move with complete abandon.

You will have to scratch exactly where it itches -- even in your private places -- in front of people and with intention. Some will scorn, laugh, condemn and criticize.

Others will applaud and scratch their itches too. These are the ones who will inspire you, who will stir your metaphorical pot of soul goodies and entice you to keep going.

So back to my question. What keeps you up at night? Fears of failure and success? Worries about what people think of you?

I'll go first. What keeps me up at night and drives me during the day is my desire to find ways to live what I love and make a difference. Writing and creating with abandon. Connecting my stories, thoughts and disparities with yours. Ridding myself of the need for perfection, popularity and all the things that could threaten the authenticity of what I do.

Greatness is personal and raw and experimental. It's an art and perfection is its enemy. (tweetable)

Perhaps these will be the thoughts that keep you up tonight. I hope so.

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