Images of perfection abound in magazines, movies, talk shows and glossy ads. We forget those who appear to have attained perfection have also had to learn how to be perfect at pretending and performing.
One of the reasons Oprah Winfrey was admired was her willingness to let viewers see her without makeup and hair styled. She was also honest that she didn't have the perfect parents and she openly admitted to making embarrassing mistakes.
I heard people say, “I could never do that!” The fear of appearing foolish can be crippling. Time spent worrying what other people think squelches our joy and our fun.
C.W. Metcalf, a humor consultant to many Fortune 500 companies, says he cured himself of “terminal seriousness” by forcing himself to do things like walk through an airport minus a sock and shoe.
Medical doctor, clown and social activist Patch Adams hosted a fundraiser in Phoenix called “Full Moon over Camelback” where thousands of people paid $25 for the privilege of mooning the city in unison at the stroke of midnight. As charity events go, it was pure genius — no overhead, no auctions and no selling things nobody really wants.
Remember BancFirst's Gene Rainbolt — and his “Dancing with the Stars” performance for a Jewish Federation celebration? He got a standing ovation and rave reviews for months because he was willing to be in the spotlight doing something he'd never done before and taking a risk he might look foolish.
“The Art of Imperfection” by Veronique Viennae emphasizes perfection is not a requirement for being successful and happy and there is something basically good and healthy about being wrong, disorganized and silly at times.
Too often we live in other people's ruts. We do things because we've been conditioned that way and it doesn't cross our minds to do something different.
So take a risk — do something you've never done before — and what if people laugh? Take a bow.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.