Our expectations are informed by the information we digest. Information comes from people (like me) choosing to share what they know.
But there’s always a bias.
Our memory isn’t perfect. People don’t always want the full story. because full stories are often boring. (Ever watch a live video?)
And our brain isn’t great at filling in gaps with the Truth. If we see a before and after picture taken six months apart, our brain doesn’t really appreciate the six months.
Consider this input we take a function of our brain creating something we see as
which then anchors our expectations.
It’s just too bad that these expectations don’t consider where we are. Meaning we might be at Level 1 and we’re comparing ourselves to someone Level 50.
- You = Level 1
- Perfect = Level 50
And there’s this drive within most of us to want to do things perfectly. So our expectations, what we’re comparing ourselves to, is something wayyy beyond where we are.
We overshoot. We’re beyond the sweet spot.
The sweet spot: that productive, uncomfortable terrain located just beyond our current abilities, where our reach exceeds our grasp. Deep practice is not simply about struggling; it’s about seeking a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions.
-Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code
I know we’re talking behaviors right now, but it’s similar to learning skills.
Imagine you’re trying to learn the aerial (no handed cartwheel).
You see a bunch of people doing the aerial with ease and that anchors your expectations.
So you dive right into trying the aerial and you struggle. This is you at Level 1 trying to pretend like you’re Level 50.
And what you’re missing is the fact that, most people at Level 50 probably went from Level 1, to Level 2, to Level 3…
Meaning those people that can now aerial started with cartwheels, then went onto one-handed cartwheels, and dive cartwheels, et cetera…
And here’s the kicker.
This learning process isn’t incorporated into our idea of “perfection.” We see the end and how the end is supposed to be and that’s where we want to be.
So when we hop into Level 50 and try to function like a Level 50, we obviously won’t perform like a Level 50. We’ll get a sniff of failure. We won’t be the “perfect” we envisioned.
And this is when our brain will be flooded with intrinsic demotivators, like disappointment, which means keeping up with the behavior(s) will be unlikely.
Perfection = more pressure = more weight on the result = more we need the result to be in our favor.
The sad part being that the idea of “perfection” is rarely a real thing. It’s just an idea we have in our head.
For instance, I’m a fan of Casey Neistat and his YouTube movies. His style is incorporated into my idea of “perfection.”
But what’s funny is that Neistat has his own style. He’s said many times that his videos (especially his earlier ones) ended up the way they were was because he didn’t really know how to fully use his editing software.
Neistat didn’t compare his ability to others, he used what he had available. As Josh Waitzkin would say, he “embraced his funk.”
My second point here being, if Neistat never made any videos, he would never be included in my expectations.
Meaning my perception of perfect would be different.
Perfection isn’t real.
And most of the things that create our idea of “perfection” AREN’T created by people following rules, but, rather, breaking the rules and embracing their situation and limitations to find out how to win not despite of their situation, but because of their situation.
Did you catch that?
Let me say it again.
Most of us create some idea of what’s good or what’s perfect in our head based on what we see and what we know, and then we strive to reach good/perfect.
Meaning we’re following a known path, something that people have already done, something that inherently takes our own perspective out of the equation.
But most people that create our idea of good/perfect didn’t do this. They went their own way. Their perspective was an integral part of their success.
It might have seem like I shifted this to creativity. I also talked skill. I’m all over the place.
But that’s the thing…
We have this behavior change elephant hanging over us, but we have no mental framework for thinking about it.
But, to me, it’s all about creativity and skill. Because, in order to win, you have to embrace who you are, where you’re at, and use your situation as an advantage, not as an excuse.
And the more you compare yourself to others, as opposed to who you were one day ago, you’re going to have a rough time winning.