Atelophobia and the Fear of Imperfection

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Are You a Perfectionist?

Recently, a few iCreateDaily community members shared their dissatisfaction with some of their art.  It wasn’t perfect. Fear of imperfection, also known as ‘atelophobia’, is common amongst creatives. Especially artists new to putting their work out into the world.

Dissatisfied with Your Work?

Many artists struggle with putting their work out there for fear it is not good enough. Even if your perfectionism is not so acute that it’s a phobia, if you struggle with being satisfied with your work, this may help.

Table of Contents

Audio Article: Atelophobia

Fear of not being good enough has silenced many an aspiring artist. Never let fear stop you from pursuing your creative inclinations.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily

Your Imperfect Children

Anyone creating anything knows the resemblance to children… to how it is that your work is like your children… your babies. Indeed, sometimes, birthing your work into the world can be a painful process. Like a birthing, a simultaneously wonderful event, and one fraught with pain and uncertainties, hopes and dreams… and fear.

Being dissatisfied with your work is a actually a good thing. It means you’re right on track. Dissatisfaction is what keeps you moving upward and onward. Dissatisfaction fuels growth.

Conversely, being satisfied is also a good thing. Both are a part of the creator’s journey, so both can be welcomed and acknowledged for their place in your growth.

Own it when you’re pleased. Change it when you’re not. It’s all a journey toward better.

Remember to appreciate your creations, for they are your offspring… imperfections and all… perfectly imperfect.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily

Don’t Join the Loser Movement

There’s an inclination amongst artists to publish their work on their social sites, then immediately follow that up with self-criticism. They tend to negate the positive comments from people who like it and are encouraging them.

You know how it goes. It’s a common theme that many of us grow up with: the inclination to counter compliments with self-effacing criticism.

Critical Habits of Perfectionists

Them: “I love that painting!”
Creator: “Oh… thanks but I couldn’t get the lighting right.”

Them: “I love that outfit.”
Creator:  “This old thing…? Well, it’s not my best color.”

Them: “You’re such a talented artist! You will go far.”
Creator: “I’ll be lucky if I make it to the not-(always)-starving artists category.”

Creator: “Here’s my thing… I really don’t like it. What is your feedback?”
Them: “Why don’t you like it? I love that design!”

Creator: “I wrote this thing… I don’t want to self-promote and it’s not very good, but…”
Them: “No, I love it, and you should share it, how else will people find it?”

Self Criticism

The self-effacing, talent-dissing, fear of imperfection attitude is at play here. This atelophobia plays an insidious role in keeping the perfectionist from doing more work, and atelophobia plays right into the hands of the procrastinator.

If you’ve programmed yourself to fail before you even start, then how will your work thrive? How will you thrive? How will you become other than a starving artist? And more importantly, how will you grow and discover more of what you’re capable of creating?

You would not be so cruel to your children, and you are the “child” in your craft. No matter by whatever the age of maturity in your art, whether that of a toddler, adolescent or adult, the learning journey is ongoing.

Ongoing learning and development… i.e., “growth”, is the nature of all life. Same thing with the life of any creative endeavor. So give yourself permission to suck at it… to not be as good as you want to be, for that is the only way to become good at it.

It’s in the doing that we improve. It is not in being perfect that we do.

Satisfaction and dissatisfaction are both good. Own it when you’re pleased with your work. Change it when you’re not.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily

Recovering Perfectionist

When it comes to “perfection”, the rest of the world will never know that extra touch that you think is missing.

It’s great that you see room for improvement. That’s the only way to keep getting better. The difference is your attitude about it.

https://www.icreatedaily.com/focus-on-what-you-want/Work on embracing the gift of learning in each project you do. AND… work on appreciating what’s good about it.

Adopt a learner’s mindset.  That’s a favorite theme around here because it’s your mindset that makes all the difference in your success. Don the learner’s mind and become prolific. It is in the daily doing that your work will soar.

The fastest way to get over atelophobia… the fear of imperfection is to embrace being imperfect and create more.

It’s your mindset that makes all the difference in your success.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily

When it comes to “perfection”, the rest of the world will never know that extra touch that you think is missing. Yet it’s great that you see room for improvement. That’s the only way to keep getting better. The difference is your attitude about it. Work on embracing the gift of learning in each project you do.  Adopt a learner's mindset.  That's a favorite theme around here because it's your mindset that makes all the difference in your success.

Creating Daily Makes a Difference

The concept of creating daily includes diving into the doing; doing more than thinking and talking about doing. Learning while doing will advance you further and faster than all the thinking about it ever will.

Sometimes spending too much time overthinking is a form of self-sabotage to delay doing the actual work. So don’t overthink… don’t over plan. Dive into doing and the rest will become more clear.

You might enjoy this article on the importance of doing your work and giving it your all.

Show up for yourself. Be your own best friend.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily

Keep on Growing

In nature, the tree is always growing. There’s something innate within the tree that requires it to keep on growing all the days of its life. Dissatisfaction is that emotional “growth hormone” within us designed to keep us growing. The important thing is to not allow dissatisfaction to derail us.

Don’t let disappointment derail you. Let it fuel your growth.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily

In nature, the tree is always growing. There’s something innate within the tree that requires it to keep on growing all the days of its life. Dissatisfaction is that emotional “growth hormone” within us designed to keep us growing. The important thing for creators is to not allow dissatisfaction to derail us.

Friend Your Inner Critic

So make friends with your inner critic. Shake hands with her; hug her; thank her, for having such a good eye, and high standards. She’s not the enemy. She’s there to keep you improving, always. Just remember to celebrate your progress!

This short 16 minute ‘Unthinkable’ podcast speaks to this where host, Jay Acunzo and his artist guest, Chris Piascik, discuss the realities of “just shipping it.”

Chris has created a piece of art each day since 2007. WOW!! Incredible! Yet… totally doable!

About Chris Piascik

“Chris accidentally became an illustrator. He’s pretty happy about that. This strange transformation was a result of his daily drawing project that he started in late 2007, in fact he’s still posting a new drawing every day.”
~Chris Piascik, prolific daily artist

“If you just put out two pieces [over a week or so], there’s so much more pressure for those two pieces to be great. But if you make a lot of stuff, then you know, maybe next Thursday’s will be a great one, and that one will pull up the weight of the others.” ~Chris Piascik, artist who has created a piece of art each day since 2007

Another favorite successful creator entrepreneur, Neil Patel, cites these famous quotes in his article for Entrepreneur.com:

There are many other versions uttered and written over the eons.

“The best is the enemy of the good.”
~Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer, historian, philosopher, 1694-1778

“Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”
~William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, actor, 1564-1616

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
~Teddy Roosevelt, 26th US president, naturalist, 1958-1919

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”
~Confucius, Chinese philosopher and politician, 551-479 BC

So make friends with your inner critic. Shake hands with her; hug her; thank her, for having such a good eye, and high standards. She’s not the enemy. She’s there to keep you improving, always. Just remember to celebrate your progress!

Neil Patel, in his article, goes onto say:

Trying to make something perfect can actually prevent us from making it just good. Perfection in its elusive glory is like a unicorn.
~Neil Patel, entrepreneur and online marketing expert

Recently, a few iCreateDaily community members shared their dissatisfaction with some of their art. It wasn’t perfect. Fear of imperfection, also known as ‘atelophobia‘, is common amongst creatives. Especially artists new to putting their work out into the world. And while you may not have this phobia, if you struggle with being satisfied with your work, this may help.

Create the life you want to live, one day at a time.

The Day is the Way.

iCreateDaily!Ⓡ



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