the pursuit of perfect

the pursuit of perfect by Tal Ben Shahar

distilled by Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes
a bonus feature of

“… psychologists today differentiate between positive perfectionism, which is adaptive and healthy, and negative perfectionism, which is maladaptive and neurotic. I regard these two types of perfectionism as so dramatically different in both their underlying nature and their ramifications that I prefer to use entirely different terms to refer to them. Throughout this book, I will refer to negative perfectionism simply as perfectionism and to positive perfectionism as optimalism.”

optimalism is a new word to me. it’s described below. it contrasts itself with perfectionism. i used to use perfectionism during an interview as a ‘fault’ or ‘weakness’ that the interviewer is trying to find in me. some interviewers rejected perfectionism as a fault. this guy total hates perfectionism. i think i’m less a perfectionist than before. i’m ok with crappy and moving forward. i’m ok with optimalism. best to improve things, not to get them right at all costs.

“Optimalists tend to be benefit finders—the sort of people who find the silver lining in the dark cloud, who make lemonade out of lemons, who look on the bright side of life, and who do not fault writers for using too many cliches. With a knack for turning setbacks into opportunities, the Optimalist goes through life with an overall sense of optimism.”

benefit finders are the bright side of life.
we’re patient enough to stop the knee jerk complaining.
we’re slow to speak enough to let the disappointment wash on by.
we find the words to say it’s ok and mean it.
we see if there’s anything good in there before moving on, without having to verbalize just how bad it was and what was wrong exactly. let the bad stuff slide. don’t dwell on it.

“In the psychological realm, injuries come in the form of emotional harm; feeling lethargic, anxious, or depressed are some of the signals that we need some time to recover. These signals, unlike physical injuries, are more subtle and easier to discount. And it is not uncommon for a person to continue working just as hard, if not harder, while the mind and the heart are pleading for a break.”

OMG. there it is. lethargic, anxious, and depressed are the symptoms of psychological injuries.
they need time to heal. makes total sense. i love it.
i know when i’m depressed, i feel so much better when i take a shower, put on my sharper clothes. wash my bedding. clean up the house. shop at beautiful stores and look at beautiful art. it heals. it cleans out my mental system. sitting in the sun shine reminds my body, there’s good stuff out there and all the mental garbage has been taken out. renew and refresh. ahhhh.

“The basic premise of cognitive therapy is that we react to our interpretation of events rather than directly to the events themselves, which is why the same event may elicit radically different responses from different people. An event leads to a thought (an interpretation of the event), and the thought in turn evokes an emotion. I see a baby (event), recognize her as my daughter (thought), and feel love (emotion). I see the audience waiting for my lecture (event), interpret it as threatening (thought), and experience anxiety (emotion).”

This seems pretty mechanical. ok. i get it. separate the mental steps to understand it’s not one thing. ok.

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