Is Perfectionism Good For Us?

Today i want to talk about a disease that is sweeping the world and stopping pro active people from achieving their dreams. As you can see from the title of this article, what i’m talking about is ‘Perfectionism’ and whether it really IS good for us?

So, let’s begin!

Let me ask you, “What exactly is Perfectionism?”

Well, ‘Perfectionism’ is defined as a meticulous drive to attain excellence. According to Wikipedia, it is a ‘personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations. Perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal and their adaptive perfectionism can sometimes motivate them to reach their goals. In the end, they derive pleasure from doing so. When perfectionists do not reach their goals, they often fall into depression’.

‘Perfectionism’ is a very prevalent belief in our civilization and notice that I used the word ‘belief’.

Everywhere in this world of ours, perfectionism is regarded as good and desirable while imperfection is deemed as bad or negative. Everybody wants everybody else to be perfect at whatever they do. Bosses want their employees to be flawless on the job, parents want their kids to be the best, perfectionists want their work and themselves to be perfect and on it goes.

Since it is so strongly regarded as being positive, is Perfectionism really an absolute or universal value? Well, In my humble opinion, definitely not!.

To me, it is relative born of human conception. Perfection is an idea of a perceived ideal state of affair. Perfection and imperfection are therefore merely attached values.

I am not suggesting that perfectionism is not good in any way but what i am saying is that perhaps perfectionism can cast a controlling net over our expression of happiness. A person can reach their required goal with or without being a perfectionist. To be a perfectionist, leaves very little room for one to accept and love oneself unconditionally when a desired goal is not met and when our desires are not met, we feel unhappy or not fully satisfied.

However, the truth is we only have the present moment to live in and by being a perfectionist, our mind will be forever planning and thinking about the future or lamenting about what went wrong in the past. Because of these tendencies, many perfectionists are unable to feel satisfaction because in their perception they never seem to do things good enough to warrant that feeling of contentment.

From this, we can see this paradox of life:

“How can someone have peace, self love and joy when they are a perfectionist? “

The reason i chose Perfectionism as a topic today is because it is exactly where i was in my life and still am to some extent. I know how these thoughts of everything having to be perfect have held me back in achieving what i want out of life.

I used to be a professional sportsman (snooker player) many years ago and spent hour after hour, year after year practising and trying to ‘perfect’ my skill but when i didn’t perform the way i wanted to, it got me down and had my head in a spin as to why things weren’t happening like they should do.

The same applied when attracting women. I’d meet a perfectly attractive female and find excuses in my own mind to reject her because of my perception that she was ‘less than perfect!’ How ridiculous does that sound?

I’ve been in that situation dozens of times over the years with very attractive girls but have managed to find a fault with them, that probably didn’t actually exist and have let them go. Looking back now, i could literally kick myself for being so stupid but hey, we live and learn!

I’m still a lot like that now but not as bad but am constantly striving to give people more of a chance to get to know me and see where it leads. It’s very hard to change these thought patterns overnight but at least i’ve identified my problem and am working on it daily.

So in summary, i’m saying that being a perfectionist is not a bad thing, just don’t let it control your life otherwise you’ll always be striving to get everything perfect and find you’re actually not progressing. Just live your life, mistakes and all and don’t worry or over analyse what you should’ve said or done. Live in the moment!

Till next time…