Yoda shared a false doctrine that our entire generation has been raised with.
Frankly I think it has damaged many of us, and held us back from trying. I see so many people letting perfectionism keep them from making decisions and from moving forward in trying, in taking imperfect action.
But Elder Holland says we get credit for TRYING:
The great thing about the gospel is we get credit for TRYING, even if we don’t always succeed. ... The Lord blesses those who WANT to improve, who accept the need for commandments and TRY to keep them. (See full quote below.)
Christ told us both in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon to become perfect. But we all know that no normal mortal human being will ever be perfect in this life. I believe Satan high jacks our quest for eternal perfection by stirring up shame, embarrassment, judgement, or criticism for the mistakes we make in trying, and stirring up fear of making mistakes again. So then we won't try.
Isn't DONE better than PERFECT?
So many people share with me ways perfectionism stops them from moving forward in their projects, their goals, their life missions. If it didn't mean to be perfect, then you could move forward and paint that room, start that blog, get a garden planted this year, create the business you've been inspired to create. Yes, done is ALWAYS better than perfect.
I have a friend who started a business about 14 years ago. He had no business training, but he had a sense of mission to help people. He made a lot of mistakes along the way, cleaned up messes, made apologies, and tried again. This man is now a multi-millionaire and his personal development company has blessed tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people around the globe with training and mentoring. He moved forward with imperfect action, and his motto became, "test, measure, and adjust."
Around the same time, this man's friend wanted to start a business too, but last I heard, he was still waiting until he had it all figured out before he started. Look at all the ways he missed out on blessing himself, his family, and the people his business would have served by letting perfectionism hold him hostage.
God's plan is NOT a once-and-done, all-or-nothing plan.
It's a line-upon-line plan that means we practice, fall, get up, and practice again.What if a toddler never tried walking until she could walk perfectly? That baby would never walk, run, dance, or ride bikes because of perfectionism. It' sounds ridiculous, but sometimes we hold ourselves back from taking action because we aren't perfect at it yet. What if a song bird never sang until he sang perfectly? We would never hear beautiful birds singing. If a musician waited to play the piano or violin until she could play them perfectly, she would never play.
The ONLY way to make progress is to PRACTICE.
Here's a video I made about letting go of perfectionism.
Here is Elder Holland's full quote, with the "try" words emphasized:
"Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t IMPROVE, he can’t PROGRESS, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can IMPROVE, and the great thing about the gospel is WE GET CREDIT FOR TRYING, even if we don’t always succeed.
"When there was a controversy in the early Church regarding who was entitled to heaven’s blessings and who wasn’t, the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Verily I say unto you, [the gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep … my commandments, and [for them] that SEEKETH so to do.” Boy, aren’t we all thankful for that added provision “and … SEEKETH so to do”! That has been a lifesaver because sometimes that is all we can offer! We take some solace in the fact that if God were to reward only the perfectly faithful, He wouldn’t have much of a distribution list.
"Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who WANT to improve, who accept the need for commandments and TRY to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and STRIVE to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, “O Jesus, … have mercy on me.” He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going....
"So keep loving. Keep TRYING. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep GROWING. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever" (Elder Holland, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You," Ensign, May, 2016, emphasis added).
You can read Elder Holland's whole talk here.