Seeking perfection in your work leaves you running through a seemingly endless loop of make, hate, repeat. Which is why, over on Fast Company, Rebecca Greenfield looks to famed animator Hayao Miyazaki for how he overcomes the trap of creative perfectionism. Greenfield writes:
Creativity is not a very glamorous process, but instead one that leaves you feeling like a constant failure. As fans of Miyazaki know, his works, considered classics, are nowhere near failures. Still, a creative perfectionist like Miyazaki would only see his work’s the flaws. The only way to keep creating without stewing in regret, then, is to continue on to bravely march ahead into the next project.
Greenfield quotes Miyazaki on the matter:
“Making films is all about–as soon as you’re finished–continually regretting what you’ve done. When we look at films we’ve made, all we can see are the flaws; we can’t even watch them in a normal way. I never feel like watching my own films again. So unless I start working on a new one, I’ll never be free from the curse of the last one. I’m serious. Unless I start working on the next film, the last one will be a drag on me for another two or three years.”
If you catch yourself endlessly chasing perfection in your work, remember that the best way to avoid the trap is to simply move onto the next thing. The best part of moving from one project to another — rather than endlessly hoping to improve what you’ve done — is that you learn what works over time. The result of which is every new project improving on the previous. So while you may never feel like you’re creating something perfect, you’ll certainly feel like your work is improving. Which, as we can learn from Miyazaki, is the best we can ask for.
To escape the trap of perfectionism, check out Miyazaki’s advice over on Fast Company.