The Anti-P Manifesto

Adrian S. Potter
7 min readSep 13, 2021

Stop holding onto the five Ps or you’ll be left empty-handed.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

“Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval. Most perfectionists grew up being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system: I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect. Prove.” ― Brené Brown

A friend recently mentioned a new creative project they wanted to tackle. Their idea seemed unique, fresh, and exciting. It presented a chance to marry the left-brained logic of their career with the right-brained passion of their creative side-gig.

My response was immediate. “That is amazing — you have to try this! What can I do to support you?”

What was bizarre was how they were taken back by my unabashed support. You know, because the world is so full of naysayers that it seems ultra-rare somebody would truly have your back.

But then the five Ps slithered their way into our conversation.

No matter what security measures you take, the Ps know how to jimmy locks and break in, lurk in the blind spots, climb through a window, or squeeze their sleazy selves through the dog door like some villainous cartoon character.

1. Perfectionism — “I better have everything figured out just right.”

2. People-pleasing — “What if other folks don’t like this idea as much as you do?”

3. Past-focused thinking — “I screwed up when I tried something like this before.”

4. Pessimism — “Honestly, I probably can’t pull this off.”

5. Procrastination — “Maybe this should go on hold until next year when I have more time.”

Statements like these become quiet assassins to all dreams, secretly smothering them in their bassinet while still in their infancy. Chase off the Ps or they will drown your ideas and siphon away your motivation before you begin.



Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity ·