The Quest for Perfection: Are you a Perfectionist?

  • 40 months ago
1 minute read.
The Quest for Perfection: Are you a Perfectionist?

Most of us understand perfectionism in its literal sense, paying attention to small details and tediously fixing every minute flaw. But on reading the fine print, one would realize that perfectionism as we know it is nothing but a misunderstanding of the value of failure. Our shortcomings start to cloud over our strengths as we begin obsessing over getting things right every time. This makes us lose sight of the big picture and the valuable lessons life has to offer.

There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence in your career, life and relationships. However, if you feel that giving less than 100 percent is not good enough, you may be setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment.

Most people strive for success, which means they enjoy the process of 'getting there' and the end result, learning from the mistakes they make along the way.

Perfectionists, on the other hand, only focus on achieving the goals. Often plagued by low self-esteem, they avoid situations in which they will make mistakes and therefore lose out on valuable opportunities to learn and grow.

Psychologists agree that the price of perfection is high and can range from depression to obsessiveness, performance anxiety, social anxiety and loneliness. It has also been identified as a central feature in eating disorders.

Because perfectionists are sensitive and vulnerable, they often react defensively when being criticised. When they expect the same high standards from those around them, they can be critical, impatient and demanding.

Here is how you can break the habit:

Look at the four main areas of your life:

  • Yourself
  • Work/studies
  • Relationships
  • Social activities

Decide which area needs changes for you to achieve a balance. Distinguish between important and less important tasks. Instead of aiming for 100 percent all the time, sometimes 90, 70 or even 60 percent will be fine as well. Learn to measure your success against the sheer enjoyment of the process and not just the end result.

Also remember to set goals that are only one step beyond those already achieved so that they are realistic and attainable.

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