"You problem is that you're a perfectionist."
I was explaining to New Girl how I thought her problem was that she was a perfectionist. She was on the phone to me, feeling slightly under pressure at work and, when I suggested that what she really needed was a significant amount of time off, she said that taking holidays only stressed her more because she came back to nothing having been done in her absence, or not being done properly. That's when I told her she might have a little problem with her exacting standards.
"Take a leaf out of my book," I said. "You don't see me getting all hung up about finishing stuff, or making sure it's all just so. I pick two or three things I know absolutely must happen and the rest can wait. It'll either not need to be done after all or it'll become a crisis and get done then."
There was a pause while I thought about that.
"Wait. Maybe you shouldn't take a leaf out of my book."
"No, I think I definitely should. You've landed That Pretty Good Job; you're obviously doing something right."
Maybe I am. And if I'm doing something right, we can all be doing something right. It's time to down that diligence instinct and get lazy. You should know, though, laziness isn't just a skill you can expect to pick up and use when you need it. You have to work it, like a muscle. It won't hurt, you won't even have to sweat, but the weaker ones amongst you will spend many nights tossing and turning, maybe even fretting, thinking about that to do list with countless items not yet crossed off. If you're willing to break that responsibility barrier, I can show you the way, but you have to want it enough to make the journey. Ask yourselves if you want to join me. But even more importantly, ask yourselves if you have what it takes.