ANNA PENG

Shy Shell

Back when I was still deep into my own shell, I used to blame my parents or other authoritarian figures in my life for my lack of being socially comfortable, shy, and/or awkwardness. It was easy and passive to say, “Hey, it’s not my fault. I was raised like this.”

As I grew older, it became frustrating to have others speak on my behalf.

And so, when I finally began picking up the pieces to talk, I realized that there was nobody who would be able to represent me except for myself. It sounds plainly obvious, but I avoided it for years. There was nobody to blame for my social shortcomings except me.


First to Judge

I can’t show my designs to the client, it’s not good enough.

Nobody would want to see my paintings, I’m too rusty.

These drawings suck.

I screwed up my presentation because I was too nervous.

I’m not spending my time at home productively enough.


The first to judge is always ourselves. Most of the time, our problems are selfish enough so that other people won’t truly care the same way we do. However, that doesn’t stop us from feeling guilty, frustrated, anxious, or disappointed.

It’s okay to feel negative towards our own judgement for a while.

What’s next to consider is how we handle our own opinions.

Who exactly are the designs or paintings for? 

What did your presentation audience actually think?

What instead is your time meant for, if not for what you’re already doing?


Judgement is okay. It’s normal. What we can change is how we deal with it.


The Perfect Rule

We don’t need to look for perfection, but that doesn’t mean putting out unthoughtful work.

Looking for perfection is a cheap way out to never get things done, because everybody knows that nothing is ever perfect.

Instead we can look at the minimum. What’s the lowest bar we need to pass to get the point across?

Where’s the passing point where your audience will understand and connect to?

What’s the story you’re telling and what parts does it need to be told?

Letting go of perfect frees us up from the parts we care about, and instead puts the attention back into what needs to be told.

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