Innovating Activism : Forsaking Perfectionism

Before you move further please think of this question...

To create an event, what lengths did you go and what lengths did your peers or co-volunteers go?

(Obviously, you've done more than your peers can imagine and you have a lot of complaints about their work. But did you think how much they struggled to get half of your idea/suggestion done ?? )

The urge to do a work or get a work done perfectly is common among a lot of people in free and open source communities. They even go frenzy if it is not up to their quoted or stated standard. This doctrine or belief of nonacceptance of anything short of perfect is called Perfectionism.

The problem isn’t that we’re aiming for perfection. It’s that we don’t have an accurately redemptive idea of what perfection really demands.

In a frenzy to meet your perceived goals which would have revolutionized whatever you are organizing, You are mocking and taunting others in face of imperfection.

Is it really worth driving to perfection or is there something else to it?


Do your community members find it difficult to delegate work?

It is very important for us to understand delegation of the leadership. How willing are our leaders to do an experiment? Even if they do, Are they just doing it blindly?

We should open space for dialogue and experimentation which is the essence of free and open source culture.
In some communities, even if the leaders create space for dialogue, people don't really talk. What do we do then? Abolish the space or Innovate the platforms to encourage them to participate in the dialogue?

When organizing Telugu Localization Meetup in July, we decided to make hangings like triangles with three different faces bearing all logos of Swecha, Mozilla, and Wikipedia as a part of decoration since the event marks a collaboration of these organizations. But the printing dimensions went astray leading to an absence of folds to get it into a triangle.

Imagine that one of us objected and removed triangle with a curved face, the whole event wouldn't stop but simply there would be no decoration. Probably, This is why agile came into being!! The concept of Minimum Viable Product. That would be a topic for another blog.

Any event or interaction should be driven achievable metrics. This would build confidence in the participants and volunteers.

Creating 'Roadmaps' would help volunteers have clear common goals rather than assigning targets. Moreover, Involving volunteers in setting the roadmap would, even more, encourage their participation and lead to self-assigning tasks. This would resolve a lot of conflicts and increase community participation.

It is 'We want to make the world a better place' but never 'We want to make the world a perfect place'.

Contrary to the name, most perfectionists aren’t in pursuit of perfection, they’re driven by the avoidance of failure.Being a perfectionist isn’t about being perfect, it’s about never being good enough.This fear of failure is what community leaders are failing to recognize. This is where the leadership should push their efforts.

Our perfectionism starts to torture us when we lack information on how hard others had to work and how much they had suffered before reaching their ideas of perfection.If we understand, we would not then be impatient sickly perfectionists, we would be patient resilient questers for excellence.

P.S : This can't be one blog or one-day effort to stop perfectionism in open source communities. I can't expect the communities to change from tomorrow morning after reading this blog today (Lol! That would be using perfectionism to stop perfectionism. What an Irony!!). It is a continuous process of self-examination and peer examination.

Whatever the names or terms we have used to express these ideas, the fundamental effort is to understand the community and build a better and open leadership.

Thanks for reaching here, You can further read about perfectionism here and here.


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