Laying the Perfect Brick

Perfectionism is characteristic that hinders most people.  Too often we see people who are unwilling to do things simply because of the fact that they are not perfect at it.  The truth of the matter is that whenever someone is starting a new activity, there is a tremendous learning curve.  However, over time, with practice progress is made.  The key factor is the person started the activity.

There is a reverse to this idea.  It is common for people to give a half hearted effort in the things that they do.  When this is done, we see this concept manifest in the results.  Lackluster results are most often due to a less than stellar effort being put forth.  The old saying garbage in, garbage out applies.

So what is the happy medium.  How do we exert our energies in a way while protecting against the perilous mindset of having to be perfect?  The answer is fairly simple.  When we look throughout history, we see the wisdom of the sages.  Every discipline talks about this concept one way or another.  Without going into the different dogma, I will explain it with a simple analogy.

A mason is tasked with building a wall.  Obviously, it is his intention to build the best wall possible.  Depending upon the neighborhood, the customer is going to require a wall that seems perfect.  Thus, our mason is tasked with building the "perfect" wall.  How does this person go about it?

I will tell you that nobody every achieved a wall of this sort by setting out to build the perfect wall.  It is impossible.  The outcome (the wall) is a result of the actions undertaken.  Hence, the mason needs to focus upon the activities which go into that finished product.  And here is where we see the genius at work.

Our mason only need to focus upon one thing once all the measuring and laying out of the wall is complete.  Instead of focusing up the end result, the mason only need to concentrate on laying the perfect brick.  Nothing else matters other than the brick that is presently in his hand.  All the other bricks are already set in place and, hopefully, aligned.  The future bricks are sitting in a pile awaiting use.  In this instant, the past nor future means anything.  Our mason has control only over the brick he is about to lay.  If he can put this in position perfectly, everything will progress forward.  However, if he messes up that single brick, the entire result (wall) will be awry.

Do you see how this change of thinking creates different results?  Too often people focus upon what they did (the wall) as opposed to each action.  A prime example of this is going to the gym.  Many people go to the gym and think they accomplished something.  The truth is that what one does while he or she is there is what dictates the results.  Posing in front of the mirror for 45 minutes nets little.  The world's best body builders take an approach much different from this.  The same is true for any walk of life.

In conclusion, focus on the action that is in front of you.  Do this single action to the very best of your ability.  Understand that all goals are the result of stringing specific actions together.  And it is this singleness of focus which allows us to increase our productivity.
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