Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lazy Perfectionism

I, for some reason, can't motivate myself to practice violin. My goals are pretty clear-set - to get the Emerson scholarship again (hopefully not too huge of a challenge) and to enter the MIT Concerto Competition (no idea how competitive this is). However, I can't get myself to practice? Why, I asked myself? I think my problem is my outlook on life: lazy perfectionism.

Although I hate to admit it even to myself, I am somewhat of a perfectionist. I still get upset when I don't get A's, when I don't get into colleges, or when I make a mistake in a performance. I actually find it very, very hard to listen to recordings of myself playing - I can only seem to hear the mistakes I made, and...yeah. Maybe this is just natural, but it's really disheartening and frustrating when I feel like I make no progress and make mistakes even if I try harder. Another example were my final grades for second semester.
10.10 (Introduction to Chemical Engineering): didn't study at all for the final, got an A
18.03 (Differential Equations): studied somewhat, got a B (almost an A, kicking myself for this as well)
5.12 (Organic Chemistry): studied for two weeks, got a C
This really got me down. People always say that if you try hard, you can succeed, but...what's this? It's as if my studying was completely irrelevant to the grades I received.

So, what's one to do? One answer's obvious - try harder. Practice more, study more, etc. But because I see what the outcome is even if I try hard, I can never get myself to try that much harder. Because of this, I end up not trying hard at all, hence the term lazy perfectionism. So I can either still try to work harder, or lower my own standards so that I'm content with what I do. But is that acceptable? Will that just be the defeatist, lazy way to go? Both difficult options...

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