Magicians and illusionists all around the world have been entertaining people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. From Harry Houdini and his great escape, to David Copperfield and his elaborate TV specials that amaze millions, to David Blaine’s street magic freak-outs, all the way to Jeff the magician at my local East Side Mario’s – we love to be tricked, fooled, manipulated and amazed.

We love it!

It is pure entertainment. Even though we understand what we are seeing is just an illusion, that it’s not real, we fall for it every time. Hook, line and sinker. We have been tricked into believing that this illusion is real…that it is true.

There are many debates about who is the greatest illusionist of all time and what is the greatest illusion. I think I know the answer to both these questions.

perfectTo know the greatest illusionist of time, you do not need to look to far. Just find a mirror and peer into it…yup, it is you! You are the greatest illusionist ever. Well, I mean it is you, me and everyone else who is holding the mirror.

What is our greatest illusion you ask? It is perfectionism.

Perfectionism is not real. It is an idea/concept that we have created in our mind and we have tricked, fooled and manipulated ourselvesinto believing that it is a legitimate and tangible condition that we can attain. Furthermore, we have convinced ourselves that perfection is the path to BEing IT! – that being perfect will allow us to:

  • achieve true success
  • find fulfillment & happiness
  • have loving and accepting relationships

Here is the perverse part of this whole thing…we know perfectionism is not real, it is just an illusion. However, because we are great illusionists, we have convinced ourselves that perfectionism is true.

When people associate success with perfectionism, they are in fact setting themselves up for misery and failure. People a lot smarter than me have identified the vicious cycle of perfectionism and its negative impact– it goes something like this:

Step 1: Set unreachable goals

Step 2: Fail to meet said unreachable goals

Step 3: Increase internal pressure that leads to reduced productivity and effectiveness

Step 4: Self-Blame (this is the fun part) resulting in lower self-esteem

Step 5: Set new goals with the plan to “try harder”

Step 6: Proceed to Step 1 and continue the cycle.

In other words, trying to be perfect prevents us from BEing IT!. We are held back from achieving our desires. It’s time for you to embrace how perfectly imperfect you are because that is the real, natural you. Perfectionism is not real BUT you are real. So step out from behind the illusion and celebrate your greatness and accept all your shortcomings because that is who you are. Perfectly imperfect! Awesome! Amazing! Smart! Beautiful! Strong! Courageous! Fun!

Now, go BE IT!


Illustration by Sam Hubbard