Let’s look at figure 1. Each of the elliptical circles represents a different level of accomplishment or expectation. Circle B represents your current reality. This is the level of achievement you reach predictably and comfortably. Circle C represents your true potential. With some hard work and inspiration, you can expand your current reality into this larger circle.
Circle D represents a perfectionistic, unrealistic standard.
When you try to reach this level of accomplishment, the genius level of Van Gogh for example, two things may happen because you’ve set unrealistic goals. First, because you have failed to achieve these standards, you may find yourself retreating into the confines of circle A, which represents your minimum level of functioning. You know you perform all of the activities within circle A very easily, and so you decide not to challenge yourself for a while. Second, you might spend some time flailing about in circle E, which represents the depression and addictive tendencies that often result from trying to cross an unbridgeable gap. If you persist in trying to reach the levels of accomplishment represented by circle D, eventually your unrealistic standards, your perfectionism, will produce low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or shame. You’ll stop taking risks altogether, and you’ll find yourself back in circle A. These behaviors and beliefs keep you from developing fully as a confident, creative, productive, and spiritual individual.
Stop for a moment and think about how much the world would benefit if so many of us didn’t stunt our growth as creative people, if we fully explored circle C instead of attempting a beeline for the outer edges of circle D. If we didn’t hide our gifts because we feel they’re not yet perfect, what would we gain?