Welcome to Big Dreams.Com!

"Do or do not. There is no try," is often quoted— Yoda, Episode 5 (Empire Strikes Back) but the next lines are equally powerful.

As Yoda raises the ship from a swamp with his mind, Luke bursts, "I don't believe it," to which Yoda responds, "That is why you fail."

Until we destroy our limiting fears and beliefs, we will never know what joys lay just beyond. 


True "success" is to align your legacy with destiny, in this lifetime




Part III: The Dark Side of Perfection

The Dark Side of Perfection -- and it’s silver lining!

There are many who suggest the pursuit of perfection is pure folly.

I argue that perfectionists confuse perfection with excellence, and that they naively believe that perfection is not just achievable but the only acceptable outcome!

“Perfectionists” hold just the opposite beliefs to what we’ve discussed thus far. They believe that: 

  1. Purpose: Perfection is the expected outcome
  2. Perspective: Perfection is an actual result, not just an ideal
  3. Gratitude: Nothing short of perfection is acceptable

It is not the goal of perfection that paralyzes their performance, but the illusion of achievability -- indeed the compulsion to relentlessly achieve ideal results -- and the frustration that invariably follows. Sadly, they often equate their own self-worth with this broken illusion!

So, how have these beliefs been working out for them?

Here’s but a sampling of quotes from recovering perfectionist:

“Perfection is the enemy of success”

“It is impossible to reach “perfection”, so striving for perfection is foolish.”

“The mindset of a person focused on perfection is critical, harried, time-crunched, unable to see the big picture, stressed, unconfident, and rarely allowed any sense of true accomplishment and personal reward”

"Perfection is not attainable, and chasing it is pointless.”

“The striving for perfection is the striving for the illusive “one right way,” making others wrong or inferior.”

“When you strive for perfection, you shoot yourself in the foot right from the start. You’ve given yourself a goal that’s unreachable... Perfection holds you back from reaching your true potential.”

“I don’t believe God wants us to strive for perfection because he knows that will not happen. No one is perfect.”

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; Perfection is God's business"

“There are many people in the world who struggle with letting go of perfection. I was one of those people and when I finally learned to give it up I felt as though a 10 ton brick had been lifted off my shoulders.”

"Am I guilty of teaching perfection instead of striving for excellence? In the first place, am I clear with how these two words actually mean?"

These misconceptions have even been memorialized into a well-known rant entitled “Excellence vs. Perfection,” trashing all things perfection.

Although the authors are unknown, it was clearly written by recovering perfectionists-- those without a clue as to what had gone wrong!

Excellence vs. Perfection

Perfection is being right; Excellence is being willing to be wrong.

Perfection is fear; Excellence is taking a risk

Perfection is anger and frustration; Excellence is powerful

Perfection is control; Excellence is spontaneous

Perfection is judgment; Excellence is accepting

Perfection is taking; Excellence is giving

Perfection is doubt; Excellence is confidence

Perfection is pressure; Excellence is natural

Perfection is the destination; Excellence is the journey

--authors unknown*

*As perfectionist they would surely be devastated to learn they got the last stanza right --read on! 

My God! Stop the whining already!

According to this rant, perfection is an obsession to be right every time, ever filled with fear, anger and frustration, ruthlessly driven by an inner control freak, under pressure to "take-no-prisoners" in route to some unworthy destination.

These stark warnings parallel the common proclamation that “money is the root of all evil,” only perfection is now the root of all evil!

Perfectionists dismiss perfection because – in their minds-- perfection is not a tool but an actual result. Further, perfectionists hold a twisted sense of entitlement, where they feel cheated and unworthy when they fail to achieve perfection as an outcome.

The actual verse (1 Timothy 6:10) warns that, “love of money” is the root of all evil,** not money itself. Just as attachment to money creates “evil,” expectation of perfection – the attachment to a perfect outcome -- drives perfectionists to the dark side. Any fear of perfection itself is unfounded.

** In July 2012, Google had 937,000 references to the biblical quote including, "love of money" compared with 3,233,000 quotes without this essential insight.

You need only to watch a few hours of sports to see some athlete enraged, stunned with frustration, or indulging in self-pity as a result of their performance. Failure is rejected when perfection stands in for excellence because every result falls short of perfection!

They are, in effect, playing God and their "God" of perfection has failed them. With such unattainable standards, it’s no wonder perfectionists stand frozen with fear and conclude, “Why try?”

It is this misperception—the idea that perfection is an deserved result – that distinguishes true greatness from the "good enough" standard that fills the void once perfection is dismissed and discarded by perfectionists.... Dreams are shattered and careers are abandoned all because of this tragic misuse of the “perfect tool.”

This obsession with perfectibility is really just the scab that covers insecurity, shame, and fear of vulnerability. “…We make everything that's uncertain, certain…. We perfect,” asserts “researcher-story teller” Brené Brown.

You may be shocked to learn that Brené Brown herself, frozen with fear and shame, held up in sheer panic, alone for three days, feeling naked and exposed, after giving this talk at Ted!

Just knowing the perfection framework is not sufficent. If you're a perfectionist, you may have to let go of some deep-seated fears to come back from the "dark side."

"...You're going to realize, just as I did; there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path-- Morpheus, The Matrix

Ms. Brown asserts that perfectionist hold a belief that their worthiness depends on external results. In contrast, whole-heartedness, as she puts it, is the belief that you are: "Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is."

Our time here is short and what we do one this day matters. So spending a day wallowing in self-pity and shame, destroys the one thing that really matters; this day. Don't give in, not even for a minute.

In my reality, perfection is essential. It is an ideal to which we both aspire and measure excellent results; it's the baby in this bathwater of perfectionism!

No one has ever done anything great without first perfecting it, in mind and then perfecting in form! Further, just as we can only assess fast, hot, or high against "just right," there has to be an ideal to make any comparative measure of what we call "excellence."

Once you understand that perfection is merely a vision of the ideal -- not a place with an address -- you'll understand the truth in “perfection is the destination, excellence is the journey.” You will accept and revere excellence for what it is: our divine expression of perfection along the way.

It is not the guiding beacon of perfection that must be rejected, but the expectation of storied outcomes and the misconception that we somehow deserve perfect results. With that attitude, our burden is lifted and the joy of life returns!

Where perfectionists mistakenly believe that failure is not an option, here’s the reality: so long as you are moving forward, you will fail; it’s not an option. With the right attitude can we learn from every failure and failure, then, becomes the key ingredient of success.

When we hold our successes -- and those of others -- with grace and humility, we can revere those rare moments of human perfection as a divine gift and feel moved by a greater power than ourselves.

Michael Jordan showed us that divinity can shine through us all and held an obvious reverence for excellence. He combined a legendary drive for perfection with humility, not expectation, and never lost his joy for the game.



You will fail, “over and over again,” just as Michael Jordan did. The moment you fail, let go. Learn from it, but let go.

There’s an amazing scene in the Lion King that illustrates this “perfectly” -- which by now you know is a misnomer!

It’s the turning point in the story where Simba is wallowing in self-pity about having to face his past when, suddenly, Rafiki whacks him in the head.

Ow! Geeze. What was that for?,” Simba demands. Rafiki replys, It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.


That’s how fast you let it go!

Not the experience or the lessons to be learned, but any negative emotions associated with failure. “It’s in the past.... So, what are you going to do?"

As Rafiki puts it, “Oh, yes. The past can hurt but, the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it."

You see perfectionism was never a curse, but a great gift! If you are a perfectionist, you innately feel the joy in achieving perfection beyond what exists in the world today-- a trait shared with Jordan, Gretskey, Woods, Jobs, Twain, Disney, Gerswin and all great innovators. You feel the joy!

You need only embrace your human limitations as well and, with that, focus your efforts on what truly matters; your legacy.

There’s far too much to take in here,the theme goes, so just perfect your legacy and leave the rest of creation to others! 


Artist who seek perfection in everything are those who attain it nothing. 

 -- Eugéne Delacroix








Perfect Play 

Mastery-- The role of Perfection in Competitive Greatness.

Lombardi said “Only perfect practice makes perfect,” but what did he really mean?

The key is to practice perfect technique. Only then can you push for intensity and quickness! The sequence is Perfection, Precision, Push, and Play. Specifically:

  • Perfect the technique.
  • Practice for precision.
  • Push intensity and quickness.
  • Play for joy.

Let’s break it down and see how this plays out.

Perfect the Technique

First perfect, then practice. Otherwise you’ll simply get better at bad technique.

Anyone who’s seen Charles Barkley’s golf swing, has seen unperfected technique. Don’t practice that!

Rather, establish an ideal technique with the help of a master trainer and perfect that first -- in slow motion if necessary. The goal of step one is to Perfect Form.

Always be mindful that perfection is a means to achieve excellence, and not an end result in itself. To chase perfection is to set the highest standard, one that's impossible to achieve, so you don’t actually become “perfection;” you only approach perfection.

Yet, without perfection as the ideal, true excellence cannot even be defined or measured. It takes a master trainer to raise the bar to this level, as you can only define perfection once you know it.

"Perfection is an impossibility but striving for perfection is not. Do the best you can. That is what counts." -- John Wooden

Advanced Insight: To get the right technique, you need a master trainer, not merely an “expert.”

Every tennis club, for instance, has tennis pros, “experts” for sure but are they really masters of the game? Same thing is true for golf and other sports. There are plenty of “experts;” few master trainers.

Look beyond convenience to find the right coach. You might get in the game by doing what’s convenient, but to perfect your technique, you need to do what it takes. Begin by seeking a master coach [Key: Get a Guide before you begin practice].

Note: I would order George Leonards's "5 Keys to Mastery" more like this: 

  1. "Get a Guide" and Prefect Techique
  2. "Practice, Practice, Practice" for Percision
  3. "Visualize the Outcome" throughout Practice and Play
  4. "Surrender to your Passion" as you Push for Intensity
  5. "Play the Edge" as you Play for Joy

Practice for Precision

Practice automates your technique -- freezing good or bad technique into muscle and mental memory -- so that it becomes “second nature;” something you’ll never think about during play. The goal of step two is to make your Perfect Form Repeatable. [Key: Practice, practice, practice but only after you have perfect technique].

The end goal is to become your personal best through the means of perfection. As you practice, continually use your mind to conform to ideal technique so that your technique becomes more and more perfected. Visualize!

Jack Nicholas said he never made a shot without first visualizing the path and the ultimate lie of the ball [Key: Visualize the outcome. Always. At the beginning when you choose your sport, while you practice for perfection, and as you make every move during play].

The essence is to lose your attachment to the outcome, but never your vision or resolve. Accept the fact that you will never perfectly perfect technique all the while you relentlessly pursue perfection.

This may sound like a contradiction, but it's not. “Perfect practice” is the never ending pursuit of continuous improvement towards the ideal -- perfection -- all while revering what actually results: excellence!

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."-- John Wooden

With a truly “no needs” attitude (read that as "no ego"), you can laugh at your failings and never take yourself too seriously-- all while you pursue perfection. Failure must be seen as course correction, never as trauma. Once freed of any attachment to perfect results, you can pursue perfection with endless joy!

Michael Jordan became the greatest basketball player of all time, undeterred by frequent setbacks because he knew failure was the key ingredient of success -- "I have failed over, and over, and over again in my life.... and that is why I succeed.

Advanced Insight: To reach the elite levels in any endeavor you need only practice at two times; when you feel like and when you don’t.

Pro Beach Volleyball player, Saralyn Smith (on left) says in "For Love of the Game“It takes extreme and prolonged discipline. You don’t ask yourself if you ‘feel like it’ anymore. You just do it, and you’ll find what you can do is amazing.”

"Embrace The Struggle" -- Hand painted sign in locker room of the Vancouver Giants, 2007 Memorial Cup hockey champions. 

The lesson here is to give yourself over to your vision and belief, then relentlessly act. By discipline you build discipline. By commitment to your plan you build commitment. By enduring the gruling practices you build endurance as “stamina, rapid recovery, and precise cooperation between body and mind.” [Key: Surrender to your passion, not just by pursuing what you love -- the goal -- but in its pursuit-- the journey].

Think of an airplane. In order to take flight you must do two things:

  • Go straight towards your goal
  • Apply constant thrust

You can actually experience this next time you fly; in a window seat, head agaist the glass, marveling at the take-off. Imagine what would happen if the pilot made sudden turns or just puttered down the runway, instead of heading straight with constant force!

Youth, talent, career, money, marriage, and life itself-- just like that runway-- will soon run out, whether it's used wisely or not! That's our only choice. Go straight toward your goals with relentless action.

Push for intensity and quickness

The only thing worse than practicing bad form -- think back to Barkley’s golf swing -- is to practice it with intensity. You’ll likely kill yourself or, at a minimum, damage some joints.

Only once you’ve achieved a high degree of precision should you focus your practice on intensity and quickness. At this stage you no longer just think about technique. The goal here in step three it to take all the perfection; all the precision, and Automate it.

You now focus on holding it all together as you push your limits with reckless abandon, which is hard to do in practice alone. It usually takes competition to push yourself to the edge. Set the bar high. Push hard and you’re almost there. [Key: Play the Edge once you can play on automatic pilot].

We've all heard about "unconscious, competence" and the seemingly alternate path to achievement -- the path for the rest of us -- through "unconscious, incompetence," then "conscious, incompetence," and then, ultimately, "conscious, competence." I always had the impression that "conscious, competence" was the highest form; at least we knew what we were doing!

Rather, I now realize that "unconscious, competence" is the highest form, and that which is achieved here by automating technique. Sure, you may know how the technique "got in there" and will have gone through all three stages, but until it's become second nature"unconscious, competence," you're just practicing. 

Advanced Insight: Clinging to perfect outcomes is only the first impediment. At high performance levels, the conscious mind itself becomes an obstacle. Only your instincts -- honed by intense, perfected practice -- can react quickly and precisely. Your conscious mind cannot; it’s too slow! When you see amazing performances, you can be sure the players were out of their minds and “in the zone,” not in real time.

Bon Jovi once said how he knows when he’s had a great night; he doesn’t remember a thing. Michael Jordan once said after hitting 6 of 7 baskets from the 3-point range, “I can’t explain it. It feels like time stands still. This bucket is huge. It’s like I can’t miss. I’m in the zone.”

For those who saw Star Wars, think of the Death Star bombing scene where Obi-Wan tells Luke “Use the Force, Luke. Let go, Luke."

More real world, you can find video of Michael Jordan blocking his conscious mind by making free throws with his eyes closed.

Explaining why he does this to a group of basketball enthusiasts, “It’s not just to show off.. Well, sometimes it is...Why do you think I do this?... Nothing changes...Either you believe that (the rim) is still there or you don’t believe.”

When your techique is automated, there's no difference between shots made with your eyes open or closed.

The strategy is to hold a vision of what you want. Turn off your mind. Trust your instincts. Push hard. Then let your automation take over, i.e. Set vision. Push hard. Let go.

Play for Joy

All the practice, dedication, discipline, and sacrifice is for one thing: the joy of play. 

Just look at the celebrations in any sport and you’ll see why they play; why they sacrificed thousands of daily pleasures for the permanence of championship joy.

These shared moments are best illustrated in sports where it's not just the players, but fans who share the joy. Shown here are fans and friends of Rafael Nadal after his 2012 French Open win.
While pleasure is temporary, joy is forever. Indeed, competitive greatness requires that thousands of pleasures be sacrificed for the greatness of joy.


Tears of Joy at winning his first NBA Championship, 1991

This was exemplified by Kobe Bryant during in the last minutes of an essential Laker’s playoff game. In a closeup on his face you could see the pain in his body shoot up like darts, yet he dismissed those sensations and focused on his free throw; focused on his goal.

There is no pleasure in high level play, but that’s not the point of it. It’s for the joy; for the memories. From the joy of making a great shot -- at any level -- to the joy of winning a championship, that's what matters.

No temporary pleasure it worth trading the life of your dreams." -- John Assaraf

Advanced Insight: All direct competition is among your peers, but did you realize this is rarely at the highest levels? When you compare your performance with the best and brightest of your peers, you may actually be compromising your aspirations.

Rather, take yourself out of time and space. Go beyond your peer group and set your sights on emulating and competing with the greatest “players” of all time; not just Jordan, Gretskey, Woods and other great sportsmen, but Disney, Jobs, Twain, Gerswin, or whoever you find inspiring. When you stive for the ideal competitor this need only be in your mind, not before you eyes.

Part of John Wooden's practice at UCLA would be dedicated to practicing against ideal, but imagainary competitors. This allowed players to perfect their moves, unhampered by the mistakes their own peers may have made during the drill. 

In summary, here are the keys to Perfect Play along with the milestones of each step:

  • Perfection; Have you Perfected Form
  • Precision; Is it Repeatable?
  • Push; Is it Automated?
  • Play; Do you feel the Joy

The Divine Connection

Perfect Practice resides at the intersection of Love-Create in the Dream, Believe, Love, Create continuum; the Divine Elements. Perfect Practice turns what you love into tangible form; passion into performance; and potential into perfection.

If you're practicing, it's assumed that you have a Dream and Believe you can play, or why would you practice? The prerequisite is certitude; not just hoping but knowing you are destined for greatness.

Here's how Carlos Santana saw his future with certitude as a late teenager, before anyone ever heard of him:

"People were laughing at me the last day of [high] school. When they said, “What are you going to do, man?” I said, I’m going to go hang out with BB King, Michael Bloomfield, and Eric Clapton. People were [laughing gasp!!!]. Wow. You’re tripping!"

Santana: "No. You’re tripping! Because, see, that’s all I’m going to do…. and I knew… Go ahead laugh, but I’ll show you... I just felt that I’m not an accident."-- The 5 Keys to Mastery

Most of us set our own limitations -- and we set them too low!

Actually, that's too kind. It's more like we sober up one day -- perhaps today -- to discover our limitations have been set far too low, as we were "under the influence" of parents, teachers, peers, coaches, environment -- and the most insidious influence of all -- negative self-talk. At least our friends are not always with us!

The question now is: do we go back into this stupor of "good enough" or choose the path to our own greatness? 

Until we destroy our limiting fears and beliefs, we will never know what joys lay just beyond. -- BigDreams.Com

Beyond vision and certitude, you can gleem from his words that Santata took relentless action, "that's all I'm going to do," and his resulting success speaks for itself!

It's essential to recognize that fear always stands between you and your greatness; and it's not just fear of failure, but fear of greatness. Either way, you will stand out.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God....." -- Marianne Williamson 

To manage this fear, and to remind yourself of your infinite potential, consider using the mantra from Divine Elements as you create your legacy:"No Fear, No Need, No Doubt, No Limit, No End" 

Dream big (no limit), steadfastly believe (no doubt), labor with love (no need), and create the life of your dreams (no fear); Dream, Believe, Love, Create... As you move from potential to perfection, think: "No Fear, No Need, No Doubt, No Limit, No End."

Surrender to your passion. Let the joy flow!









What Love!

Imagine-- Living in the same apartment for decades, unwilling to move, because there's a chance your little boy won't find his way home.

Stan and Julie Patz, now in their 70's, may have closure in their sons 1979 disappearance, if the story of a self-confessed killer is true. Maybe now they can buy a real home and even get a private phone number (Yes. It's been published all these years).

With hope ever alive in their hearts; to have held vigil all these years, with the pray he might return. What love!


Zuckerberg Owns a Bar!

Facebook became a Public House today. Think of it as a "pub."

It's fun, a bit cool, but you may want to drink up!.... Someday the crowds will move on, leaving social media investors to cry in their beers, reminiscing about the days when hoodies seemed cool and "zero privacy" was dismissed with the cry: just "get over it."


Doing A+ work … Aim for perfection!

Always A's!.... Start with the Certitude that you always do A+ work! 

You may well earn an “A”… Or, if the class work beats you, fine; you’ll at least get a "B”-- and will know that you gave your best throughout the year!

In contrast, targeting "good enough" means a "B" is the best you'll ever do -- and you might even fail* with a “C.” Here you’ll know – and know with Certitude -- you did not give your best!

Why?... Belief matters!  You must see yourself as an A+ student, as you will never outperform your self-image!

There is a common misperception that "A's" are pefection! It's not true.

A's are not perfection!

Perfection is the ideal, 100%. "Excellence" is promity to perfection. In the case of grades, yet you need only be within 10% of perfection to earn an "A," so they're not as hard to get as you may imagine. There's a built in safety zone! Yet, in the eyes of colleges and employers, if you have "straight A's" you have perfect grades. 

When you find your grades 11-13% off the mark (87-89%, or at a high "B"), it would be "insane" not to score a few points and claim an "A!" It would like being on the 3-yard line, about to score, only to settle for a loss! You have the ball. Get it over the line!

Hovering just above 90% is dangerous as well. You need a buffer! From 90% you could easily drop into the "B" zone at the next grading event, which will have an outsized 4:1 negative effect on your GPA (do the math below!). You should view the 90% mark as the 3rd rail of academia. Touch it, you die! "B's" are not cool! 

"A man's reach should exceed his grasp" — Robert Browning

That's why you go for A+ work! First, this sets your sights on the ideal, on 100%; not the actual result. This is your "reach," not your "grasp." The ideal is not the final point count, so get any idea out of your head that you can't get within 10% of A+ work. Believe! You can.

Then, front load the effort. Continously stive for A+ work and never slack off until you're so far above 90% that, even if you fall short, you'll still be within the "A" zone! For most classes and most student, that will mean considerable effort to end!

In contrast, you can predict what happens when you set your aim at 90%. It's the human factor! Seldom will you "grasp" your aim so, quite naturally, you'll get lower results. When a "B" is the best you can imagaine, that's is the best you'll do. This is a failure of vision!

Stiving for A+ work ingrains the habit of doing your best! Why do that matter? Through your work, you will become your best. 

Play for Joy!

Above all, find joy in your work and the work will be effortless!

Almost every adult has taken some class that was life changing and may have lead them to their lives work; often due to a special bond with the instructor, but also because they discovered a special joy in the subject matter. There's joy beyond effort, but always after you "get it." So, do the work. Seek its essense. You never know what joy lies just beyond!

Student Mantra:

"B's are trailing; C's are failing."

-- BigDreams.com


Three Steps to A Work!

Okay, so how do you do this? It's all well and good to aspire but, if you want to perform, you need a plan. Here ae the three steps to A+ Work:

Plan Ahead Look over your work and start planning as soon as home work or exams are assigned. The goal here is NO SURPRISES! You should alway begin exam prep at least 3 days ahead, never the night before. You want to internalize the material before the exam and your mind needs time to work. When creativity is involved, it is of the essense to give your mind time to work!

Work Ahead Get over the fact you need to give up large chunks of your weekend to perform. That what it takes to do A work. Period. If it takes every waking hours of the weekend, you're either overloaded or allowing distractions to slow you down. Save the chat, text, and email for breaks!... You should have all your homework finished through Tuesday by Sunday night. The goal here is to BUFFER or SUFFER. If you fall behind during the week, you'll then be eating into your buffer rather than turning in half-ass work.

Ask— Whenever you feel stuck or don't understand something, ask. The goal is NEVER GET STUCK. Use your resources; mom, dad, teachers, friends, siblings. etc. You can see how this will become impossible once you're buring midnight oil, on the night before, and no one's available to help.

It takes discipline to do your best, but this is your job.

Plan ahead, work ahead, and ask!

These are the same skills you'll need to do a paid job well. One of my friends, a mom with two kids, says, "If you're going to goof-off now, why should I pay tens of thousands to have you goof-off out of town?" Good point. The treat of living at home and going to a JC should be motive enough to get good grades. 

*Yes,"C's'" are failing!...

Go to any top-ranked university like Ohio State, Michigan, or Notre Dame and you'll learn the average entering GPA is 3.8 or better. If you were thinking Harvard, Standford, or Yale, consider "B's" to be failing!

GPA is not the only thing, but it's one of first things they look at-- and provides an easy threshold to drop high school appllicants from consideration.

Consider this: How many "A's" does it take to nullifiy just one "C," yet still maintain a 3.8 average?

You may be shocked to learn that it takes nine (9!) "A's';" that's 2 years worth of hard work!... It takes four (4!) "A's" to offset just one "B." Do the math.