My girlfriend always makes fun of me when I say that something is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Sometimes, I’ll even intentionally say it for fun, just for her to tease me a little. I commonly use this phrase in reference to activities that I’ve never done before, mostly when we cook or do crafts together. When I do say it, though, I actually mean it. I’ve got an ever-prevalent feeling of not knowing what to expect when I do something for the first time.
In some ways, acknowledging that something is difficult makes it easier and more satisfying to do. It doesn’t feel bad messing something up if it’s your first time doing it, and it’s rewarding overcoming that obstacle and successfully doing “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life”. Starting something is commonly said to be the hardest part, and these few words make it ever so easy to attempt something challenging.
At a certain point in my life, I would have considered myself more of a perfectionist than I do today. Making sure that whatever I was doing was absolutely perfect and exercising extreme criticism towards the things I did or created what a common routine. While I still have a tendency to nitpick, the real world has shaped me into a more practical person. There’s a concept called the Pareto Principle that captures the difficulty of seeking perfection. The principle roughly states that the first 80% of something, such as a project, takes 20% of your effort, while the last 20% takes 80%. It’s said that perfect is the enemy of good, and I’ve let go of putting in that extra 80% of the effort to transform something from good to perfect, opting to spend my time on pursuing other activities that interest me.