I've been practicing my bo shodan kata a lot recently. I really enjoy learning staff; it has always been my first weapon choice (now don't laugh at me!) while playing various video games and occasionally when practicing on my friends as a kid. There's something about keeping my opponent at a distance that really satisfies me. You don't have to touch me. Don't even come near me. If you do, you'll feel a sharp pain in your head before eating the dirt. Treat your concussion with rest and relaxation. Ice it...and leave me alone with my stick.
Anyway, this kata is starting to really bring out the perfectionist tendencies in me, which is probably a good thing. Sensei videotaped me and Zach practicing the kata and it's really easy to see where I need work. Upon seeing the video, I found myself feeling very critical, rather than particularly excited about my progress. My stances really need work. I look off-balance. My strikes aren't clean. It kind of looks like I'm just swinging a stick around. Perhaps the staff is still too heavy for me. More push-ups maybe? Also, something that I didn't think about much: I'm not looking where I'm going! My kata looks like a string of memorized movements, not an actual potential fighting sequence.
Despite all of these things, I don't feel discouraged. I know that I have a lot to improve on, but I'm confident enough in my persistence, if nothing else, to not feel worried. Maybe I'm learning the difference between perfectionism and having high expectations.
I think one of the key differences is that when you have high expectations, you actually expect yourself to perform well, hence 'expectations'. When you're a perfectionist, you need everything to be perfect and when it's not, you feel really down about yourself. Perhaps subconsciously you don't even expect yourself to truly succeed.
I think there is a point where you have to say, "it's good enough". I'm not saying that we should settle for less than what we're capable of. Only that we should know our limitations and respect them.
You never 'get there' in martial arts. You never reach perfection; you can only refine.
But that doesn't mean you can't get close!