What is perfection and is it attainable? One of the ways to look into the concept of perfection is to look at its definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as the quality or state of being perfect, freedom from fault or defect, the quality or state of being saintly. Another definition is the act or process of perfecting. Urban Dictionary defines it as an impossibility, something unattainable, something that could not be reached ever. The word perfection is derived from the Latin perfectus, which in turn come from perficio, and perficio means to finish or bring to an end. One great concept of perfection goes back to Aristotle. He says something perfect is one that is complete, good, and which has attained its purpose. When we’re building this concept of perfection, remember that like the scale of success, it is always changing. Whatever perfection may be, let go of the limiting concepts, if there are any, and create the exact life you want because who’s to say what’s perfect or imperfect?
I’m back and real excited talking about the concept of perfection and how we think via the definition, via society, that perfection is totally unattainable. It’s totally over there but my viewpoint is that perfectionist right here, right now, this perfect moment. Look around you and see and know that you’re doing it right and it is perfect. We then have Adam and have an intimate close talk about his version of the past and how he thinks he should have done two things at once; his own spiritual growth and make money, support his 401(k) and it didn’t, and how he needs to let go of the past. Let go of that wild pain that he feels in order for him to move forward into the future. If you’d like to make a donation to the show, please visit us at Patreon.com/TuffLove. For more episodes, please visit our archive at TuffLove.Live. Thanks so much for being here.
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We’re here talking about things that matter, things about issues, concepts, ideas and basically how to make your life better. I am very excited to be back. I was going to do this show on perfection and I got sick. I got 102 degree temperature which is much higher than normal and I felt like a fog bank. My mind could not put two thoughts together. I felt better but I was afraid that I couldn’t form a full sentence on the show, which there are a lot of sentences in the show. Thank you so much for being with me. I feel different. It feels like my life continues to evolve as life keeps getting better and better and I’ve been thinking about the show and working on it.
One of the ways about the show around perfection is to look at where I find myself imperfect. This is going to be the thrust of the show and how I can use the concept of imperfection, also known as the paradox of perfection to make my life and my product and who I am in the world better and better. This is the most important piece of the show I want to get across is you can be perfect and imperfect and everything in between at the same time and it doesn’t stop you from making yourself better. It is down to the concept of how do you use your excuses in your life, these concepts, “I’m not perfect anyway,” to slow down, to rest, to swoon the floor with your hands crossed, to whine and complain to stop making your life better. That is the main thrust of the show.
The first thing is I went back to the internet and I looked up the concept and definition of perfection. I find some different ones. What’s interesting is that there’s very different concepts. Merriam-Webster wrote the following definition. It is the quality or state of being perfect, freedom from fault or defect. The quality or state of being saintly. Isn’t that intense? Being perfect is saintly. The second definition part was supreme excellence. An unsurpassable degree of accuracy in excellence. The third one was the act or process of perfecting. I liked that one the best.
The Urban Dictionary wrote an impossibility, something unattainable, something that could not be reached ever. I liked Urban. It’s raw and to the point. We might have to just stay in bed and drink coffee and masturbate. What’s the point anyway if we know we’re not going to ever get there. Then I went to our friend Wikipedia and I got some very different vibe which I want to talk about. In the term and concept in Wikipedia is the word perfection is derived from the Latin perfectus. These expressions in turn come from perficio. Perficio means to finish, to bring to an end.
Perfection thus literally means finishing or finished, which I thought was a very different vibe and then Wikipedia then goes to the oldest definition of perfection, goes back to Aristotle. Aristotle described three meanings of the term which I liked the best of all. He says there’s three shades of the meaning, but at any case, three different concepts. This is perfect, one which is complete, which contains all the requisite parts. Two, which is so good that nothing of the kind could feel better. Three, which has attained its purpose. We’d go from unattainable and saintly to which has attained its purpose. Me and Aristotle are on the same page, which is cool. It’s cool to be on the same page as a famous Greek philosopher because that’s how I look at things.
I look at things perfect as totally attainable and that’s the subtitle of this podcast is this concept of attainable perfection. I believe that we spent a lot of time and energy beating ourselves up, hurting ourselves because we haven’t reached the state of perfection and perfection is attainable. I want to tell you one of the first times I encountered this concept of perfection was back when I was starting to do my sexuality training. Just to remind people who are first time listeners, in 1998, I was pretty normal. I was a yuppie in San Francisco living the American dream. I went to Burning Man and everything got etch-a-sketch with the possibility of what’s known. Then my wife at the time, Carol, started taking sexuality courses in San Francisco and met some mind boggling and new concepts.
One of the teachers who I met was this group called Morehouse or More University. The founder, Vic Baranco, focused on this concept of perfection. That’s what I want to talk about. The story goes is that Vic was young and he made all his money and he had hit the point in his life where everything should look perfect and he was greatly dissatisfied. He didn’t feel the depth of enjoyment that he thought he should be feeling. Basically, he sat in the backyard and meditated, thought about this and flashed on this concept of perfect. The flash was that he was perfect in this moment, that life was perfection and perfection includes the ability or the concept or the gravity to change. What Morehouse would describe was a rose and all its forms was perfect. A rose who was in full bloom was perfect, arose where the petals were falling out was perfect, a rose that was budding was perfect, and a rose that was dying was perfect.
I liked that because every state of the form, how can you say a rose is not beautiful? How could you even say a dying rose doesn’t have its poetic and beautiful aspects to it? I have been thinking about this thing about perfection because I’m in an imperfect world trying to be imperfect and this world shows us that we’re supposed to be imperfect and there’s something wrong with us. I’ve been talking on this some other podcasts and I realized I hadn’t talked about it on Tuff Love was this thing about scale and comparison. When we build the road, we’re living life, when we’re improvising, what scale do you mark your success at? My point is that the scale that you mark your life against how good or bad you’re doing is totally arbitrary. There’s no way to test or know or understand how well you’re doing because the guideline, how we’re marking our success is totally arbitrary.
I have a lot of body issues and I’ve had a lot of body issues since I was young. I’ve always had this thing around my weight. Here I am going on 47 years old and I’m feeling in good shape. I still always look at myself in the mirror with a highly critical of looking at my imperfections. I’m always not looking for the beauty of my body that it moves me from point A to point B, that I’m able to lift things and hold the children and move things. I’m strong that I can go for many, many hours and all I notice is the curve of my belly and how I think it’s imperfect. The question is who said that’s imperfect? If I’m looking at Mark Wahlberg or the crew of 300 with their perfect abs and their bodies, I looked a little less than, but who’s even to say that that’s the right body image and I don’t have the right body image.
When we’re building this concept where we’re moving towards a place where we can identify why we think we’re imperfect and the scale of success is constantly changing. Where I thought my success was when I was 28, it’s very different at 47. It’s very different almost every single day. I prided myself on my ability to hold so much, hold two businesses, hold the travel back to Hollywood, hold my relationship with Morgan. I actually pride myself on my depth of expansion of how much I could handle and that’s not where my interest is in this year. I’m interested in producing this year and I’m writing my first book and I’m writing the book of Tuff Love based on all these podcasts. I’m taking the concepts of the podcasts and migrating them from my podcasts, transcribing them and putting them in written form.
I used you know and like a lot more than I thought I was doing. It’s embarrassing for someone who loves communication so much to see how imperfect I am had been in this podcast. When you listen to them, you notice it. When you’re writing and taking the transcriptions of your own words, it is painfully daunting to look at how many times I miscue and used you know in my sentence structure. That happens mostly when I’m speeding and going too fast. Even this microphone, how it’s angled 90 degrees to my face. For the longest time, I had the tip end of the microphone speaking to my voice. My mouth was right at the tip end because I had seen a million movies and watch people and thought that was the right way to do my microphone.
My friend, Bob, said, “Your microphone sounds weird when it jumped on the show.” We got on the phone and he’s like, “It’s audio version 24, 19,” or whatever that microphone is. He’s like, “You have to turn it 90 degrees because it’s a better sound if it’s right here.” I have been using this microphone for a year and a half improperly. It has been the wrong angle. That feeling of shame rushed through my body that I wasn’t using the microphone. That I hadn’t somehow benevolently known that the microphone is supposed to be 90 degrees, but that is the ability to change. I still believe in my perfection. I still believe that I was willing to try the microphone to have this experience, to learn how to use it. That’s perfection. When you can continue to expand and grow and make yourself better. We use our imperfection to beat ourselves up tight. We put the straitjackets on top of ourselves. We just continue to beat ourselves up because we think we’re not doing it perfectly. If we’re going by the definition, then we’re never going to reach it anyway because it’s unattainable, which I think is crap. You’re perfect in this moment. Everything you’re trying. Even this show. I was supposed to have a guest. I met a guest named Deborah who hopefully will be on. We emailed back and forth and then radio silence. They’re like, “We’re ready to do the show.” I’m like, “I don’t have your bio. You haven’t been on touch. You haven’t answered my emails.” They’re like, “We’ve been sending you emails and haven’t been receiving yours.” You get the point. My first thought was, “Why didn’t I call her? I think I have their phone number,” but I relied on email and instead I just didn’t take an extra step. Even that’s perfect, it’s perfect even then. Maybe I needed more time to get in connection with her. Who am I to judge the universe? It’s my big ego that says, “I’m doing it wrong.” When in fact, who knows what the right way is?
Even the show, I want to make this show bigger. I’m getting something 40 or 50 downloads per day, which would seem a lot, but my big fat ego is looking at other people who have hundreds of thousands of downloads. What am I not doing to get the hundreds and thousands of downloads? The thing is that I don’t know how to get hundreds of thousands of download yet. I don’t know how to do it yet, but you know I’m going to figure out how to do it and achieve or maybe this is perfect. Maybe this is what this podcast is supposed to be. We live in a place where we keep judging ourselves as things not perfect, but what if you flipped it around and saw your life as perfect? Do we believe in ourselves? Is it possible to think ourselves perfection and perfect?
The last thing I want to talk about before we have Adam is this concept of how we get distracted by imperfection. I am thinking a lot about this. Our determined focused on what we’re doing wrong stops us from living. All the little details and all the nitpicking of our own lives and all the nitpicking of our partnerships and all the nitpicking of our parents and all the nitpicking of how these little miscues. I’m still in a place where I’m still thinking about who I want to be in this world and that’s still going to keep going. I applied to Lucidity Conference in Santa Barbara. It’s not a speaking conference and I got a denied. They said, “No. Thank you,” but no thank you in a very nice form letter but I still buy tickets. There are still tickets left. I thought it was fun. I applied to this conference, I didn’t get in. Part of me was like, “Shit.” Then another part of me was like, “They don’t know who you are. Why don’t you use this message to learn to expand your brand?” It’s Morgan who says, “Have them come to you. Why not see the flaws in your current system as perfect and then the flaws have the capability to change and to improve.
Why not look at how all these messages of imperfection instead of getting distracted and using them as excuses not to move forward as wake-up calls from the universe to say, “It’s time to wake up and do things better.” I do believe that I can continue to do things better and better and I can continue to move forth and expand not just the show, but my relationships and my life. We are the ultimate judge of our own experience. We are the ones who are deciding if we’re doing things right or wrong. If we go back to the scale, if we go back to this concept that we’re arbitrary, making up our scale of what we’re comparing ourselves up, you can modify that scale at any point to think that you’re a badass. You can actually say to yourself, “I am awesome because I’m in the game and I’m playing,” instead of using this concept of perfection to beat ourselves up, to make ourselves so small and ultimately hurt our movement. I’ve said my piece. That is the rant of the week.
Let’s bring Adam. Let’s see what he has to say. How are you?
Very well. Thanks for doing this.
Thanks for being on the show.
I was thinking about perfection as I perfectly imperfectly became your guest. I’m glad to be. I was thinking about it slightly differently. I’ll add up maybe a wrinkle here. I think of this perfection thing as this illusion that someone holds that, “If only I’m perfect in this way,” the layer below that, “then I will get all the love, recognition that I want and need. It’s the ‘if, then’ of perfection that maybe has us striving towards it. We get a kink that if we think we can nail this or be this such and such a way then all are. I’ve been thinking about it like that one layer deeper. I know you always start the prompt with how can we make this time totally optimal, so let’s optimize some time. I’m in this transition now where I’ve been coming to a new relationship with some of the last few years. You and I were in a chapter together and we were working together and your business, OneTaste. Maybe you can talk me into how some of the things that I relate to is failures. Maybe we can do some reframes.
One thing about reframes, Morgan and I had been talking about this quite a bit. The danger of reframe is the emotional bypass. I’m guilty of this a little bit. A lot of times I will go to the reframe without feeling the feelings. If you want to reframe, make sure you don’t leave part of yourself behind as a spiritual bypass.
That doesn’t sound perfect at all. I don’t want to do that.
I know but that is the perfection of who you are. Even your emotions, even your “negative emotions” are perfect. They are there for a reason. Your shame and your anger, your guilt, your jealousy, your fear, all this is part of who you are. Who are we to say that anger and jealousy is not a beautiful, perfect emotion? I think they are. Before we try to reframe or try to go, have you connected to all your emotions around it?
I don’t think so. I can feel there’s some mix. There’s this sense of failure, but then there’s this also, I think that maybe I’m not connected to this one, this part that wants to be wild and reckless.
Let’s talk to that person. We’re talking about your experience of OneTaste, is that true?
There’s a part of you that wants to be wild and reckless.
There’s a part of me that was a total success in its wildness and recklessness and edginess and asshole.
Did you reframe it for yourself?
I may have. I’m trying to adapt and roll. Maybe this has to do with the perfect image. That between us, that recklessness or that wild energy, that’s easy to connect to with people who know me or I was with during that chapter, but when I sit outside of that into the world, I can’t explain the whole richness of that experience, an insight experience. I can’t translate that. I’m lost in translation to ordinary world. While I was in this very exploratory period, most people I know and went to grad school with have moved on towards all sorts of other more objectively measurable success. I feel like a failure, shitty or like, “Why couldn’t I move both balls forward?”
You’re not talking about a reframe. You’re talking about judgments. You’re expressing, it’s probably the best way of saying it. You have a lot of judgments that not only do you perceive from other people, but you have toward yourself. “Why couldn’t I X, Y and Z?” This is a perfect conversation around perfection. Let’s say your friends, your colleagues are at level 100 and let’s say you’re at level 50. These are totally arbitrary numbers. Who said that being at level 100 is better than being at level 50?
Maybe I’m envious. I want what they have.
What do they have that you don’t have?
If I had some of what they have, I would have more pride.
You’re still speaking in vague terms, which is the way the mind often works. The mind will keep things vague to make it unattainable. To use the reference that we have, what they have is perfect. It’s an unattainable. If you can make it a little more specific, if you could say to yourself, if they had a successful relationship, if they had a kids, if they had a BMW, if they had a house, what is it that they have that you are envious of?
They have prestigious positions, whole range of worlds. They’re doing things that I think are important or impactful in the world. Because of the nature of their work, they’re around intelligent, sophisticated people on a regular basis, a certain level of intellectual engagement, ideas that matter. A work that has an impact. Here’s where I get a little bit screwed up in myself is because then sometimes I’m talking to myself into doing, “Is my coaching work is making the impact?” but then I’m full of shit in the sense that when I look at my friends who work at the White House or who are CEOs of companies. Just a whole range of successful colleagues from grad school. I want to talk myself into what I’m doing is being equally important or prestigious, but I don’t feel that emotionally.
There are so many things. Let’s talk about it in the most important order. My viewpoint about myself and for you is if you would have gone down your path and not had this experience of OneTaste and growth and all the network chiropractic and all the emotional stuff you’ve released, you could have ended up at the White House. The question is, do you think you would’ve been as fulfilled, intelligent, emotionally-balanced, mature if you didn’t go through those experiences? I’ll speak for myself. I remember who I was at 28. I was rising up the corporate ladder. I was set to become a top CTO in the San Francisco community.
I had it inside of me. I just did, but if I would have become a CTO at 47, I probably have two ex-wives, four kids that I wasn’t connected to. I probably would be another 70, 80 pounds. I would probably be a mimic of my father and I think I would be ultimately unhappy. My perfect path had to go through eighteen years of personal development, including twelve years of a lot of highs and a lot of lows of OneTaste. It then got out of OneTaste and then had to go through another experience called LA Mother. That took me through another twenty months and a lot of financial challenges. For some reason, who am I to say my soul didn’t know this is the perfect path? I’m going to make this personal. You’ve impacted me as one of my most solid and reliable friends. Knowing you’re out there enables me on some level. I’m not going to give you all the credit but I’ll give you some solid credit to go out there and live the world, be out there in the world and make an impact in the world. Some of my impact is due to you. Knowing this, looking at your friends and colleagues from grad school, where do you want to go from here? Where do you want to take the next phase of your life?
The thing that I can feel inside is this big sigh that I want to let go of trying to churn on the past and make sense of it or revisit it or digest it or some such. I’m not sure how to say that.
That sigh is super important and I do it all the time. I do it in therapy every other week. I do it in my Ayahuasca journeys. I’m sighing out the past and I’m being grateful for the perfect path that it led me on. I know you’re doing that and I know you’ve done a lot of work to let go. All the pain and I know your history and there’s a lot of pain in there. The point is you need to keep having that as a priority not to keep you stuck or it’s not have you work on other things, but you have to keep letting go of the pain of the past.
When you say, “This is what I want from my year. It’s my year of production,” I don’t have any answer on that. I’m lost in floor division or maybe it’s the present awareness of like, “What this phase is and this phase is.” I can’t answer that question right now what this year is about for me. I’d like to but I’m not too sure what the answer to that is.
Let me give you a little life lesson from my lady, Morgan. She’s homeschooling her eight-year-old daughter and the daughter has challenges concentrating. Basically, she says that if a child has her emotions clouding her vision, it’s dumb to try and put a math book in front of her. Morgan’s focus and very patient and beautiful focus is allowing her to cleanse her daughter’s system to clear out all the angst in there so she can make some clear decisions. We’re not sure how long that process is going to take. A lot of people break themselves that they’re so full of emotion, they’re so full of pain, they’re so full of anger that they can’t make decisions.
To me, if you can’t make a decision, if you can’t decide, don’t shoehorn yourself or force 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.” I’m not saying don’t get a job in that time. Don’t sit in your room. You might need to. I’m not saying stop all emotion. I’m saying honor those feelings inside of you that aren’t fully expressed. I would question or I would be suspicious of your friends and all these prestigious positions how happy they truly are. I would say a percentage of them are truly thrilled and happy. I say a percentage of them are absolutely miserable and I’d say the majority, like everyone is right in the middle and that’s their path. For you to beat yourself up on how things look is very dangerous.
You know me and I’ve been pretty good at following the soul path, but in many ways uncompromisingly just doing what I felt driven towards. What bothers me is fear even or shame. When I see them, I think underneath all of that prestige or otherwise is maybe this is an illusion as well. It’s easier to question this but taking care of the basics and all those prudent things, having your savings going for long-term, all the pragmatic. When I said I couldn’t keep them both going like inside, “Why can’t I do both at the same time, pursue my soul path and be taken care of?” It’s like a common clause. Go into a place where you’re doing a deep work or exploration. That’s like a OneTaste setting where we’re living and then at the same time I’m saying to myself right now, I’m laughing, I’m hearing like, “Why couldn’t I be taken care of my 401(k) at the same time and keeping up with all of my long-term goals?” I couldn’t. I was still in my debt.
That was perfect but you don’t quite believe that yet. There’s some part of you that’s still beating yourself up that you didn’t handle your 401(k) while you were excavating the deep recesses of your soul. It’s possible. I was in the same boat. I walked into that world with a million bucks, my grandfather and my investments and my work. I walked in in 1998 with $1 million with all my accounts.
Does that bother you?
No, because I have that image that I described to me being 47 with two ex-wives, four kids and looking like my father.
Do you have a feeling that was imprudent?
When it comes to the financial and the taking care of that part, I always had a lot of admiration for my parents who started with very little work, very hard to save it and then were able eventually to accumulate something. That is very different than the one who’s like, “Let’s go have an adventure and spend this money to live,” using money for enjoyment.
The choices you’ve made stopped you from being able to jump on a plane and go anywhere in the world right now. The choices you’ve made has your monetary question in the future, the future money in question. I can tell you that I spent all my money and then I sold my shares. I ended up in a good position and then I created LA Mother and I spent a lot of money. I lost a year basically of my payout and time but that was what I needed. That was the path I needed to let go of these certain parts me that were holding you down these certain questions. In 2017, I have my little goal chart to save $120,000 this year. I have a goal of how much I want to make. I’ve reset myself. I was diligently looking at my forecast and plugging in numbers to see if I’m on track.
My attention is not in the past and beating myself up. My attention is on the present and the future, how to create the exact life I want, but I’ve had to go through a lot of emotional cleansing to get there. Instead of beating yourself up that are not in an emotional cleansing part, keep working towards that emotional cleansing and when you naturally feel it’s the right time, then turn your attention to these monetary savings goals. That’s my point. Don’t rush it. It doesn’t mean you can’t work at the same time. It means make sure you know what your priorities are. How’s that?
It’s good. I feel better even just laughing about it. I feel like I somehow failed because I couldn’t keep two very different sides of me. Running the ship at the same time or both, that I couldn’t both be on the soul path and beyond the practical, pragmatic, worldly material whatever path. It makes more sense now that that’s not that fucking easy to do when you’re going for something. More perfect would be being able to switch gears and recognize that that’s what I’m doing. Now, I’m having fun but I went all one or all the other.
My final thought is the society says you should be able to do both soul path and money, but maybe if you try to do both, you would have done neither. It was perfect for you to dive everything into the soul path and now that you’re out, maybe you’re moving away from the soul path, you’re shifting your priorities, now it’s time for practical and that’s perfect too. Maybe in a year, you’ll accumulate a little savings, you may want to go back to the soul path or maybe there’ll be another path, maybe artistic, maybe it’ll be sports. Who knows but that will be perfect as well.
Thanks, Rob. Thanks for doing what you do.
Thanks for being on the show, Adam, and thanks for being my friend. You continue to be part of my foundation and I’m grateful for that. Thanks for everyone who shows up every week to be my muses. Thanks for Morgan being back on the show. She had been taking care of the little kid. We’ll be back next week with some show. I am switching the format. I’m going to book guests two times a month instead of one time a month. I made that decision. I’m excited about that. I’m also taking out an intern, which I’m very excited so I’m going to have someone help me with the spreading of the show. That’s a big part of my expansion. That’s what’s been happening. Thanks so much. Visit TuffLove.Live for past shows. If you’d like to support the show, send us a little loving. You can go to Patreon.com/TuffLove. Make a little donation, $5 or $10 or become a monthly patron of the show. Always grateful for that. Take care of yourselves. Go forth.
I’m so grateful for all my listeners. I’m so grateful for Adam for his vulnerability. Thank you so much for making Tuff Love what it is. Please feel free to share the show. Put it on Facebook, send it to your enemies, send it to your friends and your family and mostly just take it in for yourself. You are perfect who you are exactly. If you feel so inclined, we love reviews on iTunes, so grateful for that. We’ll be back next week here on Tuff Love. Go forth. Face the day and remember, I love you.