The Curse Of Perfectionism And The Hyperactive Brain

It is almost 4 a.m. and I am still not in bed. Listening to an amazing music mix from this site .
I am thinking about perfectionism. These days I am all over the place, doing all kind of things and they leave me frustrated cuz nothing seems good enough.

On the one hand good- I am creating stuff, I have tons of ideas– nothing business related- just creativity for my satisfaction.
I am painting, sewing, scetching, colouring, doing wood works, writing and everything all together , chaotic- one day this, the other day or minute that. And while I am doing one thing, my mind already jumps to the next new ideas. Rollercoaster of thoughts.
On the other hand, because of my restlessness , in my hyper- state I want to do everything at once, realize my ideas- NOW!
And it feels like I don’t have the time to dig into the matter and become better. Which ends up, me doing a bit here and  a bit there. Or maybe I actually have the time and don’t allow myself to stay focused on one thing? Or can’t?

Perfectionism – Learning- Impatience – Restlessness – Self Esteem – Trust

One problem  is perfectionism.
I don’t remember when I became so perfectionistic.
I have the idea that it became worse over the years. Now I am sewing a dress and I want it to look great and almost perfect. When I was younger I didn’t care so much. Or did I? Maybe my memory is just wrong. Or maybe things looked better when I was was younger because I had more time / gave myself more time to make things? Or because I was proud of myself cuz it was the first time I did something like this? Or where my expectations lower? Did I make easier things?

As adults we see more. We see others. We start comparing. We set high expectations. We set expectations at all. We don’t get so easily compliments for everything we do. That might also be an explanation.

How can I get better? So that I am more satisfied with the results?
The thing to get better is actually learning. How do we learn? By repeating. Again and again.

This leads me to the next points: restlessness and impatience.
I am impatient. I want it NOW!
 I get bored doing the same thing all the time.
I buy a fabric cuz I want to make a dress and wear it tomorrow! I am painting  a picture and it shall look great immediately.

Another thing is this part where I am saying: Maybe I don’t allow myself the time. There is  this part of myself that is longing for staying on track. A part of me that cries out when I jump to the next task. That part that wants to dig into the matter, wants to hyperfocus, that wants to learn, wants to repeat things over and over again.
And  then the grouch steps in and says: You should do something for your work! You should care about your business. Stop playing! Do marketing! No time for learning!

But if I don’t allow myself the time, the development, the learning process, the repetition – it is impossible or difficult for me to get better.
Which leads to frustration because I want to get better. I want to develop my skills and talents, maybe not into perfect, but at least good enough for me.
And yes,  I also want to be proud of myself.

And frustration leads to not believe in myself. Not seeing and believing that I can do it good. That I get better. That I develop my talents. Become skilled. Which leads to a painful self-attack on my self-esteem.

A vicious cycle.

If I had just one or maybe two interests, i might be able to focus on this only.
But I have many many interests. And in these interests more interests. Does that make sense?
I could give myself some time and space and do one step one task one interest one technique after the other.
But I get bored. It takes so long. Too long. It is difficult for me to focus on one thing for a longer time, to stay with one task, especially when my mind is having a hard techno party of ideas.

And on top of it all is the constant worry and urgent need of creating an income.

How do artists deal with the need of creating an income?
Most of the artists I know have jobs at a supermarket or do social work to have an income and afford their art.
But I have a business. Something I love and want to uphold but it requires a lot of effort and time.

So far my thoughts….. ideas… with no solution yet…

One thing I know and wish for myself:  I will stay ambitious.  I will not let myself down. I will get there. I will be more satisfied with what I create. In my way. With creative chaos and changing plans every minute and procrastinating and not stopping to believe in myself. 🙂

What do You think?
How do You manage all Your ideas?
How do You deal with the hyperactive state of  “I want it all and I want it now” ?
Please share Your thoughts and ideas.


4 thoughts on “The Curse Of Perfectionism And The Hyperactive Brain

  1. I got myself a great big binder & lettered a nice title for the spine: “Inspiration” – I loaded it up with those plastic sleeves and when I had an idea I would jot it down, or scribble it out, or if I had a photo I wanted to paint from or saw a painting in a catalog, or got postcards in the mail from the gallery, a newspaper article, ANYTHING that fell into my realm of MANY interests – I stuff it inside this big black binder called Inspiration. When it gets to be too much of a mess, I re-visit it and organize it… it acts like organizing my mind (a little). And I can temporarily “forget” some of my plans and things I want to do, because I have the idea safely tucked away where I know I can look it up. I have notes that I’ve written on envelopes, and sometimes am amazed at the good ideas I have had and set aside.
    I guess this helps, in a way, to free up my mind to focus more energy on the projects I am working on.

    I love your article and can relate to many things you write about. For me though, times have changed. Some health problems are holding me down from doing things. But I still have my Inspiration book, and to prevent my mind from going crazy, I keep a small sketchbook and lots of pens by my chair at night and I draw and doodle and make notes, and … mostly doodle. You can see my doodles here if you are interested; also other work & poetry:
    Keep up the great creative energy my friend. Be grateful you have it. I see no problem in doing lots of things, and think you are learning a LOT by doing so much… sometimes what we learn doesn’t materialize right away, but shows itself a little later on. Thank you for sharing. xo

  2. Dear debrazone
    Thank You so much for Your comment and beautiful empowering words.
    Organising inspirations and wannabe projects in a binder is such a wonderful idea! Actually I have made already a binder named projects and I think it is empty! lol
    Therefor tons of papers, little notes and notebooks everywhere… A friend also an artist suggested and uses a sketchbook for writing ideas down, but I really like your idea with the plastic sleeves. Cuz I use too many sketchbooks already and collect little papers and photos, too.
    I agree,the great thing about writing it down and putting ideas in a save place is definitely freeing the mind. So I don’t keep my brain full of ideas, so I don’t forget. I can let go. and when the time is right I can catch up. Cool!
    I am just such a chaos princess that I forget where I wrote things down! 😉 I get through my notebooks and papers and then I see I wrote like 5 times exactly the same thing down that I wrote on another piece of paper just a minute ago.:-)

    I just love Your doodles which I would call artwork…they are amazing! not that doodles aren’t artwork, but yours are wow! fantastic! and a new inspiration for me! 😉 And also all your other work and your music mondays are really great.

    Yes and good that You say it, after I wrote the article I also thought: Hey! I have my way of learning. There is not just one way to do things. And thanks for your words to remember that what we learn can show itself a little later on. I totally agree. And breath. 😉 And yes I am grateful for my crazy mind and my creative energy! Thank You for reminding me.

    Take care and keep up the great inspiring work and all the best and good luck with your health, too.
    Big hug,

  3. GOOD JOB! I know you know that *I* certainly relate to every word of this article. Knowing what to do and DOING what we know seem to reside on different planets, many days, huh? Even if I had answers to the questions you ask at the end, there is no guarantee that they’d be answers for YOU! We can only learn so much from others – some things simply have to be “one rat studies.”

    We humans are so apt to second guess ourselves when things don’t go as envisioned – and judge ourselves against unrealistic standards, looking to others for answers they don’t really have either, IMHO – they just got lucky in the follow-through lottery, LOL!

    But don’t feel alone – despite my 25 years in the ADD field, I have thought every single thing you mention practically every single time when things go screwy (and when finances get tight). I get back on the horse much faster, for the most part, vs. getting shut down and ruminating, but my “default” is STILL set on “What am I doing wrong?” vs. “What can I learn from what’s going on?” I keep working on it .

    It’s a tad embarrassing to admit that when my own coach acknowledges small steps forward, my tendency is often to bat away the endorsements because they aren’t HUGH LEAPS! Sometimes I even have the thought that he is patronizing me – or thinks I’m slow or something – even though I KNOW that is not the case (and warn my clients not to go there, grin).

    When I get a chance to spend time with my NON-ADD/EFD friends, I am always amazed to find that they seem to oops almost as much as I, but they take it in stride a heck of a lot better – and are quicker to laugh at their mistakes.

    THEY don’t have a backlog of “you’re not doing it right” to sensitize their reactions, of course, which I think makes the single biggest difference, once we’ve figured out how to drive our own brains well ENOUGH.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  4. Hi Madelyn
    Thank You for Your comment and compliment! 🙂
    I had to laugh hard about your reaction to your coachs’ advice of baby steps! lol …still laughing!and totally agree…
    And I also agree that we have to find our unique way..or as you call it on your site: find our own manual! Love that!
    I think it is really good to find some tips and a coach that will give me a bigger list of ideas and inspiration: picking some of these ideas that fit me together with my own experience will make a good recipe for my personal soup! The one I can make and manage and will taste just the way I love it and will make me feel good and give me that strenght. Or lets say something like my personal magic elixir. 😉

    I find it interesting that You refer to the “what did I do wrong”-thought esp. when under financial pressure. I believe that pressure is pure poison. The Antidot for Creativity and for self-love and self-acceptance. As soon as there is pressure as soon as we don’t fit in the societal order and norm- which is to have a job and earn money, for ex.–there comes the self-critic and punching ourselves.
    Most of us don’t get paid for being creative, for thinking outside the box and to dream and do things that haven’t directly to do with earning bill-money and so on… If there would be sb paying us for that we would be rich! But that ain’t the societal agreement!
    Btw. when was this meeting for that agreement? I was late, I forgot about the date, I think! As many other non-NT’s, artist, visionars, dreamers!? Or weren’t we invited at all? we didn’t put our vote in that hat!!! And now? Are we stuck in that order? Or are we going to find our own ways?
    I know and I find it actually very frustrating that I read all the time, when it comes to ADD and jobs- that our specific qualities are needed for the world and we are visionars and artists and creative and so on…and there are plenty of jobs out there that need us! Bullshhhh…..!!! Sure there are but who has actually the luck or the connection to get such a job? Or the money to build that huge company of their own?…ok. enough complaining for now!!!

    I agree on the “what can I learn?” and when I read it I thought immediately of the Bach Flower Chestnut Bud…the one that has to do with difficulties learning from own experiences. There is even a Bach Flower essence for that! 😉

    Thank You for sharing your experience and the reminder of not getting stuck in self-critic but to move on and shine with our own manual!


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