Almost every morning, at least five or six times a week, I make myself 2.5 scrambled eggs. It offers me a protein boost first thing in the morning, which is great for energy, and it allows me to focus on tasks I need to get done, and not worry about deciding what I’m going to have for breakfast. It’s a productive routine that makes my life better.
Since I make eggs as much as I do, you might imagine that I’m an expert at cracking the egg. By now, I should have the ability to simply flick the egg against the side of the pan, then rip it open, spilling the insides onto the cooking surface and ensuring that none of the shell enters the pan. Yet, that’s simply not the case. Some days, when I do this, it goes off without a hitch. Then other days, I spend a few seconds picking up small pieces of shells in the pan.
How can that happen, I think to myself? How can I not have the specific touch needed when pressing the side of the egg against the pan? My initial reaction is to say I should do better. I’ve even learned a trick to crack eggs more efficiently to limit the amount of shell in the pan, yet still the shell sometimes falls in.
Luckily, this is simply cracking eggs. But what if it was something more important, like your job or your writing? What if you’re constantly trying to reach perfection? What if you’re trying not to lose any of the shell every single day?
Here’s the problem, it’s not my fault. Each egg comes from different types of hens. One egg might come from a young hen producing typical shells, while another egg may come from an older chicken that has a harder or softer shell. These variations, that which I never could know, will alter the intensity of impact I need to crack the shell without losing the shell in my eggs. Yet, I blame myself for this. Why?
It’s natural to do so. Especially for those of us that want to excel at the things we try. And it really comes out in our career, where we want to create a name for ourselves. We want to work long hours, and never see a mistake. In some ways it’s great because we care about what we’re creating. But on the other hand, it’s why we can’t sleep at night or move onto the next thing.
Perfection is an important goal to strive for. It’s how you will do your job or create new works of art that no one ever imagined before you started. But I need to remember that it’s not attainable. For even the smallest of tasks will have a little shell in them. And that’s okay. All I can do is remove them, and cook the eggs the right way. With that process, I’ll still have a great breakfast.
Remembering that what I do for a living or create in my life is a process as well, will help ensure I don’t get hung up on obstacles in my way. So I’ll fret and tinker with a story as I loom over the computer. But I can’t expect perfection throughout the entire route from beginning to end. Because then my goal is out of whack, and I will never get breakfast.
What’s an example where you blamed yourself when something you worked on wasn’t completed with perfection? Why did it go wrong? Were you really to blame? Did the project end up a success anyways? That’s making quality eggs.