I ain’t aiming for perfection & neither should you

Over the years, I have written and published a lot of blog posts. In fact, WordPress tells me that I have published over 430 blog posts and 11 pages, or a total of 613,610 words (that’s enough words for seven adult novels in case you’re wondering). Through these articles, I have shared a lot of details about our dividend income, our financial independence journey, and our everyday life.

For the most part, I have openly shared a lot of numbers in these articles, but I have purposely not shared specific numbers like our portfolio value, net worth, etc. for privacy reasons. After all, I am no longer blogging anonymously so I gotta watch out for what I share on the internet. 

Some people may look at our dividend income at over $2,100 a month and think that our lives are rosy and perfect. Some people may look at my goal of having dividends covering over 55% of our annual expenses and think that we will be living off dividends in the next few years. Some people may look at our travel pictures and think we are seasoned travellers. Some people may think that we really have our stuff together when we are only in our 30’s. Some people may look at all the things I have shared, and think that our lives are perfect.

Please don’t put Mrs. T and I on a pedestal. We have faults and our lives are far from perfect. 

In fact, we know we are not perfect and neither of us are aiming for perfection.

Aiming to be perfect is simply impossible. That’s not how life works and that’s not how we should enjoy our lives.

So we’re OK with not being perfect. And we’re perfectly OK giving up on the chase for the “perfect” life. 

I ain’t aiming for perfection and neither should you

It’s pointless to aim for perfection and live in the dream world. That’s like pretending that you’re an Oscar-winning actor or actress and hiding behind an imaginary role that you created for yourself. Unfortunately, this is happening on a daily basis, especially on social media.

Take a look on Facebook or Instagram and all those pictures that mimic the perfect lifestyle – travelling in private jets, staying in fancy 5-star hotels, eating fancy exotic foods, walking around in fancy clothes, looking perfect in tip-top shape, etc.

Is such the “perfect” lifestyle really sustainable? What happens when you get older and you can’t stay in tip-top shape anymore? What happens when you can’t take on more debt to buy more fancy luxury items? Does this perfect world topple and crumble? What would happen to your thousands and millions of followers? Would they abandon you because you are no longer projecting that perfect lifestyle? 

I used to think that materials can bring me happiness. So, I dreamed of having the fastest computer, the latest gadgets, the newest basketball shoes, the expensive cameras, the fancy Canon L lenses, etc.

But I learned that the materialistic happiness is short-lived and not sustainable. A new $100 gadget brought me a lot of happiness at first. A year later, spending $100 on a new gadget didn’t bring the same level of happiness. So I had to increase the dollar amount. Soon it was a $200 item, $300, $400, and the dollar amount got bigger and bigger while the happiness I got lasted shorter and shorter. 

Then I realized that happiness from having material things is not the right way to seek happiness. Happiness comes from within, it is joy and inner peace I am seeking

So I began asking myself – what brings me inner peace? What makes me smile inside? 

To do that, I have learned to accept who I am deep inside. I have learned to love myself first.  

It has been a long journey for me to come to terms with who I am and truly love myself. I have had mental struggles, I have struggled with learning a completely new language, I have had some very dark moments, I have felt embarrassed about my non-native English accent, I have struggled with body image, I have struggled with not feeling included, and the list goes on.

These struggles have not totally gone away. I still have to deal with some of them regularly… but that’s totally OK. Because I know that’s part of being human. And that’s part of who I am. Stuff happens and I deal with it! I have learned not to bottle them struggles and challenges deep inside because that will only create bigger problems later on. 

Although it has taken a few years, I have realized that I am never going to be perfect. More importantly, I have realized there’s no need to chase perfection, that perfect life, that perfect image, that perfect aura. Because this search for perfection will only end up being a never-ending-no-satisfaction journey.  

Rather than spending days and years of time chasing for perfection and never getting anywhere. I’ve decided to spend that time elsewhere – to spend with friends and family, to help others in the community, and to share what I have learned. 

So… I’m proud to say that I am not perfect. I’m also just as proud to say that I ain’t aiming for perfection either. 

I hope you have come to this same realization too.

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27 thoughts on “I ain’t aiming for perfection & neither should you”

  1. Well spoken Bob!

    The human condition is such that we’re all imperfect. Each of us has flaws and areas we can and should improve upon. Unfortunately, consumerism and social media portray the “wrong aspects” to aspire to. As you pointed out, there materialistic happiness is short-lived. Instead of achieving the perfect life, it becomes a sure-fire recipe for dissatisfaction and disappointment.

    It’s often said people matter. We’d all be far “richer” by keeping this in mind. You’re a wise man to focus your time on friends and family, helping others, and making a difference.

    Reply
    • Hi Shannon,

      We should accept our flaws and try to improve ourselves continuously. But achieving “perfection” is simply not possible. Unfortunately, the social media portray that perfection is possible.

      Reply
  2. great article Bob

    life is not about stuff or money . the simple things are the best

    i made so much money during Covid ( which is sick really ) .. i invested heavily in March . and have 10 k monthly dividends now … in my 60’s

    but my life is the same as ever in past 30 years .

    . i got rid of my car and only bike now and occasional rental car
    i buy stuff but only stuff i truly love to bits .. the rest ; i use thrift stores etc . i hate shopping anyway

    now i can gift more to Kiva etc

    as i get older i have concentrated on my thoughts and being grateful and content .. i long passed the need / worry money stage ..

    i am fortunate too

    we all are really . life is a blessing

    Reply
    • Thank you. Congrats to you on investing heavily in March and having a $10k monthly dividend income. Very fantastic. But you’re right, if your life style is the same for the past 30 years, what’s more money going to do for you? We should look at how to help others. 🙂

      Reply
  3. That’s an important realization and one that I’ve been working on as well. As humans, we’re wired to always want more… and due to increased (and refined) advertising, that usually leads to buying more material things. Although that doesn’t have to be the case 🙂

    Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing, Bob. Good on you and Mrs.T for recognizing that depression is NORMAL. Too often we look for a quick fix (pills) from depression and anxiety, and, as we have personally found out, this can lead down the path to horrendous outcomes. The mental health industry of doctors and big pharma are so removed from reality, and have harmed many along the way. Your approach of talk therapy is so much healthier than getting that prescription. I recently watched a documentary called Medicating Normal. If any of your readers are interested, I encourage them to view the movie. It is very impactful. Best wishes.

    Reply
      • not always Bob ..

        the root cause can be simple propensity / genetic …. i am a wired A type . I get everything done and well , but that has led to panic attacks and anxiety ..

        i discovered a simple low dose medication that i have been taking for 2 years now ..

        so why do we have this last resort thinking to medication ??

        we can of course alter lifestyle , health etc . but from experience i have seen its nowhere near enough for depression and anxiety

        Reply
  5. No wonder you couldn’t find happiness, you kept using Canon 🙂 just kidding my friend. Thanks for writing this post so that others may be self reflect as you have. The most important person we need to be honest and content with is ourselves. Bringing mindfulness into our lives along with knowing that the downs are as important as the ups is the point at which we will begin to find some peace in our daily lives. The next point that you didn’t really mention but did through the act of writing this post is telling someone and talking about things. We need to be able to talk to others about our mental health, to feel safe knowing others are listening and can help us through the tough spots. Cheers Bob and all the best to you and your family….keep on writing that novel.

    Reply
    • ROFL about Canon. Canon cameras just feel better in my hands compared to Nikon. 🙂

      Yes telling someone and talking about things are just important. You don’t want to bottle things inside. Seek help! It doesn’t make you look weak. It’s the opposite actually.

      Reply
      • I love my Canon camera. I also have purchased used L series lens in the past. I found great joy in using them for 3-4 years and selling them for almost what I paid for. Why deprive myself in things that I enjoy

        Reply
  6. I’m shooting for “better.” If life can be a bit better every year, I’m happy. Also, enjoy the journey.
    When you get to the destination, you’ll look back and say the best time was during the journey.
    That’s what my dad just told me. All those years of struggling when I was young, was the best years of his life.

    Reply
  7. Sorry you guys feel like you are struggling. I know it’s easy to compare yourself to other people on their financial journey and not feel as wealthy or as worthy.

    It seems like you guys will eventually reach financial independence at a traditional age of late 50s or early 60s. And I think that’s OK, despite other Blogger is doing much better. So long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.

    Reply
  8. Great sentiment. It is strange how in this world where we can share so much, many seem to curate to a level that is clearly unrealistic.

    In our hearts we know it. But that doesn’t stop many of the feelings seeing “perfect” so much inspires. (It’s part of why I’ve tried to mostly quit instagram!).

    I think it’s more important than ever in this crazy curated world to be authentic. That doesn’t mean we need to share everything. But we ALL have struggles. I also think it’s extra important for people who would viewed as “successful” to share what those daily, weekly, monthly, and freak out of nowhere struggles are.

    I hope- since you tagged me on twitter to check this out- that you find I am someone working hard to keep it real and share my imperfections and days of not being ok. I know, for me, being willing and able to share does two things: it makes me more and more comfortable being authentic, IRL and online, and I know it helps other people to share a struggle, or just the fact that others have struggles, even if they are “successful.”

    Thanks for keeping it real Bob!

    Reply
    • I think most of us all know that perfection isn’t possible, but it’s hard when we are constantly bombarded by these perfection messages and images on social media.

      We need to realize that having challenges and struggles are OK and these are just a part of life. We need to be able to speak out and share these challenges & struggles.

      Reply
  9. It’s interesting how some people present their lives via social media (at least pre-pandemic) and how much that can differ between their actual mental state. Most things tend to be neither as good nor as bad as they appear to be at first glance. Coming to the realization that you can set your own standards and rules to abide by is crucial. Loved the post!

    Reply
  10. Bob

    This is one of your best posts. I have not been receiving your posts for a while- I think they were going into my junk mail. I missed them and even tried to sign up again.

    I have found to in life that what is important is not what you have money wise but how you feel about what you are doing with the resources that you are entrusted with. That means sharing with the less fortunate in your community and trying to be a better person each year.

    Reply

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