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A Do-Gooder's Guide To Sabotage

Do It Perfectly Or Not At All

Sabotage
hey stickler: do it perfectly or not at all. don't start anything until you're 100% prepared. wait I'm not ready. the luminary braintrust do-gooder's guide to sabotage
RAISING LUMINARIES: LUMINARY BRAINTRUST

Welcome to Sabotage for Do-Goodery

In this discussion series, we examine common ways we self-sabotage progressive movements.

Sabotage for Sticklers

Never Settle For Less

Excerpt from the CIA Field Manual on Simple Sabotage:

“Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products”

Nervous about moving forward? Today’s sabotage strategy will keep you snuggled in your comfort zone and give you the perfect excuse to keep things exactly the way they are.

Maybe perfectionism hasn’t worked for you in the past. But you probably just weren’t trying hard enough. So let’s go back to the drawing board and do it the right way this time.

Maximize your potential by learning the Perfect Way To Do Everything In Only 3 Easy Steps.

Below, I’ll break down your path to perfection with this simple guide to inaction. Along the way, I’ll keep you motivated by pointing out the many ways you’re still doing it wrong.

It's not your fault you have high standards

As a busy parent who is personally responsible for every disaster in the universe, you know the granular importance of serving your kids a nutritious family dinner every single night.

But why stop there? Instead of just keeping your kids alive and well, why not give them the very best experience any child has ever had?

Embrace relentless perfectionism: Because you’re doing it wrong and your children deserve better.

Don’t you your future grandchildren to have access to clear water, soil, and air? You can (and should) design, prepare, and serve the perfect sustainable 14-day meal plan for your growing children – while also offsetting the carbon emissions of Taylor swift’s personal jet.

Even if you manage to ethnically source every ingredient, it’s best if your meal plan is reviewed by a Certified DEI Practitioner to ensure it’s culturally appropriate. To avoid raising misogynists, schedule an equitable gender balance in planning, shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning the dishes.

Are your meals ageist? Ableist? I bet they are, and it’s your job to compensate! Keep knitting more anxieties into every dinner until you’ve created a tight weave of intersectional responsibility and created a 60-page handwritten keepsake cookbook of world-saving meals to pass on to your grandchildren.

You must be exhausted just reading this! You’ve worked SO HARD on your intentions, and you’re only human. Time to let yourself off the hook. The kids are hangry and screaming. Who could blame you for skipping home-cooked meals until next week, once you’ve figured things out? Just this once, grab some baby carrots and dip and I dunno, microwave a broken iPhone for tonight’s dinner. Sure, the hummus you bought funds the Israeli army as they bomb refugee camps in Gaza. Also I think iPhones contain PFAS and lead, probably. But ugh, you’ve already done so much today.

Now that dinner’s squared away, if you’re not already an expert on sabotage through perfection, we cover 3 simple steps to start obsessing over details, creating contingency plans, and giving up without admitting you’re giving up.

text chat screenshot. Ashia: "I'm writing an article on how everyone should be perfect. Drooly, I need a testimonial from you highlighting how my every-present disgust at your failure to meet my standards motivates you to drag yourself out of bed." Person named 'Fails to meet expectations' responds with "Ashia makes me feel self conscious about only having a single Ph.D." Ashia responds "mine is better. Like are you even trying." frustrated emoji. Response: another frustrated emoji

Step 1: Obsess Over Every Detail

Do you love feeling productive, but dread the tedium of actual work and hate the risk of opening yourself up to criticism? Detail-oriented planning can keep you busy on the sidelines so you can enjoy the easy brainstorm part forever.

Spend weeks building the a farmhouse menu from reclaimed wood for your kitchen wall. Build a raised-bed veggie garden and chicken coop to source your ingredients. Of course, you’ll be busy building and scouring the sea for driftwood, so let your children survive on expired Gogurt tubes and lawn clippings until your projects are complete. You can make up for the nutritional deficiency and pesticide poisoning with a food-scrap juice cleanse after you finish construction.

How could you call yourself a ‘good’ parent without understanding the difference between chemical compounds in non-GMO versus GMO pop tarts? If you don’t have time to get a masters in nutrition science, hit the books – and Wikipedia. Also attend a few webinars, workshops, and inspect the first 5 pages of google results to understand the carbon footprint of your toaster pastries.

Keep honing your plan until you understand, objectively, what it means to create THE PERFECT BREAKFAST and hold a masters degree in early childhood development, so you can trick your kids into eating it.

Be sure to consider not just accessibility, but also nutritional access, each ingredient’s impact on the environment from farm to packaging to distribution. Is it native? Is it seasonal? Sure, you live in an overdeveloped nation and can take advantage of easy access to year-round produce. But is it even ethical to feed your children broccoli in winter? Only more research can say.

Don’t forget to make meals quick, simple, one-pot, and colorful, for those busy evenings when you will be home late from the job you haven’t had time to apply for.

Plan around the allergies and restrictions of play date friends your children have yet to meet. How can you call yourself an ally if you don’t cook kosher, halal, and vegetarian. And you plan to eventually go vegan, yes? Might as well get started now. And by ‘get started‘ I mean start planning!

Step 2: Plan for Every Possible Outcome

Whether you hope to run for office or just don’t want to be embarrassed, orchestrate your days as if your every move is being recorded for evidence by the NSA.

Everyone, everywhere, will notice if you make a mistake. So do your research, hedge your bets, and create contingency plans before doing or saying anything publicly or privately (Pegasus is watching!) Just in case.

Keep everything you create in ‘draft’ stage for as long as possible. Don’t make a final decision until every potential flaw is investigated and addressed. Never take a stance on anything, in case you change your mind later. Learning and growing must only be done in secret!

By the time you’re done considering all your options, the world will move on, and you can just jump on whatever bandwagon the majority agreed upon while you were fiddling with your rough draft.

(As we’ve discovered over the past decade or so, the elected majority is leaning toward fascism. Not your fault, you didn’t vote!)

If over-planning and analyzing every detail appeals to you, level up with these strategies:

  • Master Risk Aversion: Develop a keen sense of anticipating and planning for every conceivable negative outcome. Whether it’s potential criticism, unforeseen obstacles, or minor setbacks, your goal is to preemptively avoid them at all costs.

  • Approach Every Decision With An Avalanche Of Caution: Refuse to proceed with any action unless until you’ve mitigated every risk. In addition to delaying progress, you’ll frustrate collaborators who prefer to learn through experience. Congrats, you’re a force multiplier for sabotage!

  • Create Elaborate Contingency Plans: You *can* anticipate every variable in the future, because unlike everyone else in the world, you are smart. Outline detailed responses to scenarios that will probably never happen. Draft responses to any and all hypothetical criticisms and objections, ensuring you’re prepared with a comeback that makes you sound cool, confident, and sexy.

Cultivate a perpetual state of analysis paralysis to undermine any initiative’s momentum. This allows you to wear down your own sanity and the erode the trust of those relying on you to move it along.

Step 3: Go Back To The Drawing Board

Are you chronically insecure? Are you paralyzed by the thought of making a mistake? Do you avoid trying new things because you just fall apart when any tiny thing goes awry?

Developing standards of unattainable excellence allows you to cope without acknowledging that you are a hot mess – because if you understood yourself, you wouldn’t get to blame others!

Create a review and inspection routine for everything in your life with the rigor of a pre-launch rocket inspection full of puppies and babies. Based on your exceedingly high standards, let your safety check-list grow so long and unwieldy that you have trouble remembering what you’re reading about 5/6ths of the way through.

  • Better Safe Than Sorry: Take any twinge of overwhelm or confusion as a sign that it’s time to retreat back to the drawing board. If things seem great, you’re just getting overconfident. Let’s run through this through just one more round of planning and revising.

  • Revise, Consult, Revise Again: Treat every decision as temporary and subject to continuous refinement. You always miss something – so ask someone with no expertise or stake in your project to review your work, offer their opinions, and provide alternative ideas.

  • Follow Your Gut: Getting tired? Confused? Nervous? Whenever you find yourself uncertain about a decision, resist the urge to run a small pilot attempt to inform your next move. Start over – but this time do more research. When you feel compelled to act decisively, take this as a sign to stop, breathe, and ask yourself, “But what if…?”

Whatever you are doing, you’re probably doing it wrong. All you need is more research, lots of input, and a few years of experience. Embrace the comfortable safety of over-planning, asking for more feedback, and returning to the drawing board. Just scrap your plans and start over again.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

To model a healthy sense of pacing and perspective, every caretaker needs a hobby to unwind. The problem is that you’re too busy for hobbies! Staying attentive and looking productive means you’re a good person. Keeping your standards unreasonably high makes you the best person.

Congrats on winning at humanity! Your internet points will be delivered once I’ve settled on the right design for your Certificate of Perfection.

Avoid Clarifying Your Sphere of Influence

When anyone, anywhere, fails to meet your standards, you’re morally obligated to let them know.

As a member of the community, it’s your national duty to provide content approval services for the internet. No one else has your insight and knowledge. The ignorant masses need you to identify misinformation and call out anyone who makes mistakes or shares a disagreeable opinion.

Over-analyze, nitpick, and tone-police any person sharing their experience or advice. Opinions lead to post-truth facts, and science tells us that facts are either right or wrong – there is no middle ground.

Programs like the Summer Luminator give you the time and guidance you need to identify which actions create a clear, simple, and joyful way forward. Too bad everything is urgent and deserves your immediate attention. With your job as Internet Approval Moderator, you don’t have time for that kind of thing.

Avoid Finding Healthy Outlets For Anxiety

You’re going to get more and more frazzled as you learn about the horrors and injustice of the world. You will need to process whatever emotions that this brings up for you, if you’d like to respond with intelligence and compassion.

But that’s not your vibe. You’re on another level, baby! So avoid the somatic abolitionist practices you’ll find in Come Back To Care. Instead, stay hyper-focused on irrelevant details and ruminate to build up your tank of nervous energy.

Similarly, avoid the Summer Luminator, which gives you space to practice creative puttering and joyful exertion to create a guild-free cycle of recovery and action, designed for folks who can’t find time to sit down.

As Fox News tells us, all the smart folks are most creative and nitpicky four hours after bedtime, feeling an urgency to pee, while sobbing. That’s why brilliant and kind leaders like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk force their employees to sleep under their desks and pee in bottles. Quality and human rights are irrelevant – focus on the shareholder dividends finish line.

Avoid Learning Through Experience

You know who tries things out in a low-stakes experiment to gain clarity and inform their next move? Scientists and nerds.

Are you a science nerd? NO! (Or if you are – you shouldn’t be. Quit your job to make more time for internet-policing!)

Play it safe and hoard information. Research, research, research. This way, you can boast about being smart, but not so smart that you look uncool. The time you waste making final decisions and doing action is time you could spend getting a PhDope in Googling things.

(Hahah PhDope, get it? I never would have come up with that almost-joke if I hadn’t fiddled with this guide until it was four days overdue!)

Sabotage Strategy Pitfalls

Mastering rampant perfectionism will create a few minor hiccups for your relationships, finances, and tight schedule. Let’s cover the risks, and how to keep your life on a path to EXCELLENCE!

Test Your Relationships!

Staying properly critical will strain out any weak relationships that drain your time, energy, and love. Any coworker, partner, or child who needs you to stay flexible and forgiving isn’t good enough for you anyway.

Grab Growth Opportunities!

Flawless results require a hefty investment, and you can never pour too many resources into a sunk cost. The excessive time and resources you spend on perfecting your projects will lead to less productivity. Since the only reason you need to stay productive is to impress others, the good news is that only experts can tell the difference between your procrastinating busywork and an actual contribution to revolution. And we don’t care what experts think because they are probably all science nerds.

Cultivate A Reputation!

With your drive for perfection, you’ll learn how to make promises, fail to deliver, and follow up with a sincere apology. That’s social-emotional growth!

By letting your colleagues down, pissing off your friends, and even ruining your children’s lives, you’ll cultivate a rare sense of resilience reserved only for billionaires, corporate executives, and nobility.

Now, some folks suggest joining the Summer Luminator Collective to chill out and be generally easier to be around. Returning members who were prone to self-destructive perfectionism say it’s a healthier approach to activism and life

But be honest. You’re not ready.

At least, not this summer. Right now your kids are still too demanding to learn how to juggle parenting and advocacy. Your job is too busy to learn how to delegate, set boundaries, and accept help. You need to finish painting the living room, you’ve got all these books to read, and the stars just aren’t aligned in the perfect formation for you to stop derailing everyone and everything you care about.

So, for now, keep planning for excellence! Better yet, create your own Summer Luminator, pieced together from the flotsam and jetsam you find in 20 Google page results about collaborative action, a Skillshare class on napping for resistance, five hundred podcasts, and ten books on self-care through consumerism. Why link arms in joyful camraderie when you can stop, reinvent the wheel, and drag it behind you?

One day, your kids will be grown, you to-do list will be complete, you will have started exercising, and finally gone vegan. The path will be hard (much harder than it needed to be) but you’ll have no regrets, maybe!

 Until that moment, keep spinning your wheels. I’m sure you can get there alone, with no support, while you’re exhausted and strung out. Your dedication to grinding away in isolation is what sets you apart . Hyper individualism got us in this mess, but I’m sure lifting by your boostraps will create a completely different result for you.

Keep nitpicking, keep delaying, and above all, keep that strange, thinly veiled contempt for those who seek an easier, relaxed, collaborative approach. Because in the end, we can only fight for collective liberation by creating the perfect plan, alone, at 4am while sobbing.

And when perfectionism inevitably fails to solve your problems, just give up.

RAISING LUMINARIES SUMMER LUMINATOR

Reclaim Your Time & Energy

Cclear path of action and learn how to drop busywork that drains your time, energy, and attention.

Sabotage for Do-Goodery

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