There's a voice inside your head which provides a running commentary on all your actions. It gives its opinion on the things you do, tells you what it thinks other people are thinking about you and predicts the bad things that will happen if you do this or that. This voice is not helpful and it is certainly not on your side. So why do you listen to it?

It's the central theme of an easily digestible book by Danny Gregory titled "Shut Your Monkey" which you can probably read in less than an hour. Here's why he says you need to stop listening to your inner critic.

The voice in your head keeps you from getting things done.

Think about the last big project you had. If you're like most people, your inner critic contributed something unhelpful every step of the way. If procrastination is a problem, think about the inner dialogue behind it, such as "This sucks," or "I have plenty of time, so I'll just hang out online." Or, what about "You're never going to figure this out." Silence these disagreeable sentiments. "Practice. Experience. Perseverance. Head down," Gregory advises.

Your inner critic is fickle.

It will tell you what your life should look like, and how far from this ideal reality you are. If you decide to do something differently it will never be good enough because your inner critic cannot be satisfied. Its vision of perfection changes incessantly.

Perfect is the enemy of done.

It's one thing to want to do a good job and quite another to feel pressured by your inner critic to do everything--your laundry, parallel parking and push-ups--perfectly. This mentality is actually hubris based upon the assumption that you can meet standards the average person cannot. "When your priorities are askew and you get overly obsessed with incidental details, it's a lot harder to do what needs to be done," Gregory writes. "Be a bit more realistic about your capabilities and your priorities. Accept that in most cases, good enough is just perfect."

"A neat stall is the sign of a dead horse."

What if you're so intent on perfection that you never get started? Or, what if you spend so much time tweaking or getting other people's input that you never finish? Another problem with perfectionism is believing you can conceive the destination before setting off on the journey and that nothing can intrude and alter the outcome you have envisioned. "You should welcome that intrusion," he writes. "The accidents,  mistakes, serendipities and ink splatters that the universe throws in your path make you and your life more interesting. Perfection isn't natural. It can be constipated and inert."

Published on: Apr 11, 2016
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