Zen to Zero: Start with Perfect

The best thing to remember when beginning any project is that every step of the way is an important step. The first step is obviously important because it is what gets everything started. There are the steps that feel a bit wobbly, as if they might not work out. They are also important, because if we overcome the hinderances, then we will feel accomplished. If we fail, then we have the chance to learn from the mistakes. And the very last step is important, whether you're deleting your last email to see an empty inbox, going to sleep after a long day's work, or crossing the finish line of a marathon. Every step is crucial.

And therefore, because every step is just as important as every other, then we are able to stay focused on each step as we take it. The most effecient and productive men and women of the world know this. They pour their energy into their work as it happens, without getting to caught in past miseries or future ambitions. Their attitude reflects the potential that each step has to offer. The best golfers in the world do not fret about messing up their last shot or worry about beating the next player. Although their goal is to win, they can only win by giving 100% to each shot as they tee off. 

So no matter where you are in your project, start with perfect. If you're just beginning, see that you have a lot of ground to cover and that the challenge you're up against will be worth while the whole way through. Don't lose hope in the midddle. Sometimes projects can feel like they are losing momentum, but with some patience they can pick back up. Some people are so-called perfectionists and even when the goal has been accomplished they are not satisfied. The key here is to step back for a moment.

Step back and look at the project like it isn't you who is doing the work. Imagine it is your friend. You would tell your friend that even though there is some work to do here and there, it still looks really good. In fact, it looks great. But you don't tell yourself that, right? Instead, you tell yourself that there is work to do and it looks bad. It is a challenge to accept your own faults while also never losing the passion to move forward. 

Two ways to stay in the Zen:

1. Breathe - Meditation is possible where ever you are. When you feel stuck or you have been too hard on yourself, remember that you can always relax and just breathe. Find a quiet place if necessary. Try not to get distracted and just let yourself observe everything around you and in you. The sounds outside and the thoughts in your head. Watch the thoughts of criticism, judgement, insult, jealousy, and judgement. At first you may fight them, but if you can, just let them be. Instead of fighting them see if you can not do anything to them. After a while they should leave and any stress you may have had will leave too.

2. Move - Do yoga. Go for a run. Do the dishes. Meditation doesn't work for everyone. Some people relieve stress better by working out or getting in a zone. Really, it is a form of losing oneself in some activity. Take a break from the work that might be getting you down and go for a walk or listen to music or read a novel. Do something. And then, keep that "in the zone" feeling even after you've done something. It won't be the same zone, but you are the same person. The only reason doing something you love and doing something you don't love are different is because you chose it to be that way. Think of your first day of work for the job you now have. Wasn't the excitement of starting something new fresh and alive? What has happened since then? Have you created habits of procrastination and boredom, or have you went to work each day like it was the first? Or, maybe you really do dislike what you do, in which case, find a way out.

Don't let your work get complicated again. Remember to be aware of your emotions and thoughts. You don't have to control them, just watch them when you can. It could mean the difference between accomplishing something and enjoying it all the way through, or being dissappointed during each step.