061: Attainable Perfection

In Podcast, Self-Empowerment by Robert KandellLeave a Comment

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Welcome back to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. Life continues to evolve as life keeps getting better, and Rob has been really thinking about the show. The topic of the show today is “attainable perfection.” The paradox of perfection is that you can use it to make your life and who you are in the world better and better. The most important piece of the message that Rob wants to get across is this: you can perfect and imperfect and everything in between at the same time, and it doesn’t stop you from making yourself better. It’s down to the concept of how you use excuses in your life—excuses like ‘I’m not perfect’—to slow down, whine and complain and stop making your life better.

Rob has researched the definition of perfection and interestingly found a number of different concepts.

  • Meriam Webster wrote:
    • It is the quality or state of being perfect. Freedom from fault or defect. The quality or state of being saintly.
    • Supreme excellence. An unsurpassable degree of accuracy and excellence
    • The act or process of perfecting”
  • The Urban Dictionary wrote: An impossibility. Something unattainable. Something that can not be reached, ever.
  • Wikipedia had quite a different vibe. It stated that the word perfection derives from the Latin perfectus and these expressions in turn come from perficio, which means “to finish” or “to bring to an end”. Perfection thus literally means a finishing or finished.
  • The oldest definition of perfection goes back to Aristotle, who describes three meanings of the term or rather three shades of the meaning, but in any case three different concepts:
    • Which is complete—contains all the requisite parts.
    • Which is so good that nothing of the kind could feel better.
    • Which has attained its purpose.

So we go from unattainable and saintly to ‘which has attained its purpose.’ Rob believes he and Aristotle are on the same page, because he looks at things perfect as totally attainable:

  • Rob believes we spend a lot of time and energy beating ourselves up because we haven’t reached a state of perfection, and it is attainable.
  • The first time Rob encountered this was during some sexuality classes at Morehouse in the late 90s. Vick Baranka (spelling?) who was teaching the class tells the story of being young, having made all his money and reached a point in his life where everything should have looked perfect but he was greatly dissatisfied. He meditated on it and flashed on the concept of perfect: he was perfect in this moment and life was perfection.
  • Perfection includes the ability to change. What Morehouse described was, a rose in all its forms is perfect—full bloom, the petals falling out, budding, dying. In every state of the form, how can you say it’s not beautiful, or doesn’t have it’s poetic aspects?
  • We’re in an imperfect world, trying to be imperfect. And the world shows us that we’re supposed to be imperfect and that there’s something wrong with us.
  • Scale and comparison are important and related concepts here. What scale do you mark your success at? The scale you mark your life against how good or bad you’re doing is totally arbitrary. There is no way to test or know or understand how well we’re doing because the guidelines, the way we’re marking our success, is totally arbitrary.
  • Rob has a lot of body issues and has done since he was young. He is actually in good shape now but he will always look at himself highly critically, not looking for the beauty but looking for the imperfections in his body.
  • Who said that’s imperfect? Compared to the crew of 300, of course Rob feels less than, but who is to say theirs is the right body image and Rob’s isn’t?
  • The scale of success is constantly changing. Where Rob thought success was at 28 years old is very different at 47. In fact, it’s different almost every day.
  • Rob has realized through transcribing the podcast for his book that he uses ‘you know’ and ‘like’ a lot more than he thought. He finds it embarrassing for someone who loves communication so much to see how imperfectly he speaks. It’s painfully daunting.
  • Recently Rob also found out he’d been using his microphone incorrectly for a year, and shame rushed through his body.
  • However, he still believes in his perfection because he has the ability to change. That’s perfection: when you can expand and grow and make yourself better.
  • We use our imperfection to beat ourselves up. We put straight jackets on ourselves. But if we go but the definition, we’re never going to reach it anyway because it’s unattainable.
  • You are perfect in this moment in everything you’re trying.
  • Who are we to judge the universe? It’s our big egos that say we’re doing it wrong, but who knows what the right way is? Is it possible to flip it around and think ourselves perfect?
  • We get distracted by imperfections. Our determined focus on what we’re doing wrong stops us from living. All the nit-picking of our lives, our partnerships, our parenting.
  • Why not use these signs of imperfection as wake up calls to do things better, instead of as excuses of why you can’t move forward? Move forward and expand!
  • We are the ones decided if we’re doing right or wrong, and you can modify the scale that you are using to do that. You can say to yourself, “I’m awesome because I’m in the game and I’m playing.” Instead of using this concept to continually beat yourself up.

Rob coaches Adam, who thinks about perfection slightly differently:

  • Adam views it as an illusion. People think, “If only I’m perfect in this way, then I will get all the love, recognition etc that I want and need.” It’s the if-then of perfection that has us striving towards it.
  • Adam is in a transition phase at the moment, and is looking back and is seeing some failures that he’d like to reframe.
  • For Rob, the danger of a reframe is the emotional bypass. A lot of times people go to the reframe without feeling the feelings. If you want to reframe, just make sure you don’t bypass the feelings.
  • Even your negative emotions—shame, anger, jealousy, guilt, fear—are perfect. They’re there for a reason.
  • Adam has not connected to all his emotions around it. He has a sense of failure but there’s also a part of him that wants to be wild and reckless. It was sort of an inside experience at OneTaste and people outside of it he can’t explain it to or translate it to the ordinary world.
  • While Adam was in an exploratory phase, most people he knows had moved on to more external, traditional ‘success’ and he feels like he has failed there. Adam is envious of what they have.
  • Rob say this isn’t about reframes, this is about judgment. Adam has a lot of judgments of himself. “Why couldn’t I xyz?”
  • Adam is speaking in vague terms, which is how the mind works to keep things unattainable. Adam makes it more specific, defines that success.
  • Rob’s viewpoint is that if Adam had gone down the path that didn’t include all the experiences he has had, he could have ended up where those other are. But would he have been as fulfilled and emotionally balanced, mature person if he didn’t have those experiences?
  • Rob’s perfect path had to go through 18 years of personal development, including 12 years of a lot of lows and a lot of highs at OneTaste. It then went through another 20 months of challenges at LA Mother. Who is Rob to say that wasn’t the perfect path for him?
  • The next step for Adam is that he really wants to let go of the past and stop churning on it and revisiting it. Sigh out the past and be grateful for the perfect path it led you on. Keep that as a priority not to keep you stuck but to keep letting go of the pain of the past.
  • Adam is finding it difficult envisioning the path forward. A lot of people berate themselves that they’re so full of pain, anger, and emotion that they can’t make decisions. Don’t shoe-horn yourself into being someone just to be someone. Use this fogginess as an opportunity to say, ‘maybe there’s more for me to look at.’ Don’t stop all motion, but honor the feelings inside of you that aren’t fully expressed.
  • There’s some part of Adam that is beating himself up that he didn’t handle his 401K while he was excavating the deep recesses of his soul.
  • Rob started in 1998 with a million dollars that he doesn’t have now, but it was the path he needed to take. He reset himself. His attention is not on the past and beating himself up, his attention is on the present and future.
  • Society says you should be able to do both—soul path and money—but maybe if you tried to do both you’d do neither. So it was perfect the way it was and now the priorities shift.

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