“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” My AA sponsor repeated this phrase on a regular basis while I was working on my master’s thesis. It became my mantra. I constantly complained that I could not get started on my work. I feared that my research was terrible, that my writing was not good enough. All of my worries and negative beliefs could have cost my degree. Perfectionism, procrastination and paralysis are three of the worst effects of alcoholism on my life.
I used to have a tendency to spend my life waiting for the past to change. I want to spend the first hundred years of my life getting all the kinks ironed out and the next hundred years actually living. Such an inclination to avoid taking risks, to avoid doing anything badly, has prevented me from doing some of the things I enjoy the most, and at one time, it kept me from the regular practice that produces progress.
If I’m unwilling to perform a task badly, I can’t expect to make progress toward learning to do it well. The only task that I can pretend to perform perfectly is the one I left entirely undone! The AA program has taught me to take risks and to avoid thinking life is a dress rehearsal.