Perfectionism is the quality that has a dual connotation to it and therefore it is often confusing to people to decide whether it is a negative or a positive thing to have. Very often people think that it will help them to work harder, to achieve more, and to learn better. In reality, it leads to inefficiency, loss of focus, and very often procrastination. In this article, we are going to discuss how this trait prevents you from achieving your goals in the long run.
Real Meaning of Perfectionism
People who suffer from perfectionism tend to have a repeated patterns behavior which hinders them from enjoying many new experiences in their life. This makes life less meaningful as they hold on to the same principles, emotions, decisions, and actions. It makes people less flexible and more conservative which is not the best thing for a dynamic environment we live in today. In return, it causes self-doubt, extra worrying, attempts to control everything around and a lack of self-value. It becomes hard to enjoy life, to appreciate surprises and spontaneity which is inextricably linked with the level of satisfaction and enjoyment of life.
“Real world does not reward perfectionists. It rewards people who get things done.”
– Ziad K. Abdelnour, “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics”
Therefore, you need to stop worrying to start enjoying life. This means you should minimize your perfectionist habits. Here you can watch an interesting video on obsession with perfectionism in our culture and why it is holding us back.
So What Can You Do?
The real value of perfectionism is not doing your best. Perfectionists do not live to most of their abilities and suffer from a lack of a big picture vision. It is not an efficient way to live a life. If you have just discovered that you suffer from this culprit, you should not worry because it is not the end of the world. There are techniques that can help you boost productivity and make you more flexible and your life more meaningful.
Trying to be perfect very often means that you have not discovered the true way to yourself, the things that really make you happy. It means you refer to the images in popular culture rather than to yourself. We assume that having white teeth, perfect abs, long legs will help us become more successful and will minimize the risk of failure. In reality, it does not work like this. On the opposite, such an approach will prevent us from becoming who we really are.
- Rule Number One: stop looking for perfect; instead, look for better. Compare yourself with yourself and set your own internal landmarks, not the ones imposed on us by society.
- Rule Number Two: don’t concentrate on the result, think more about the process. You need to start working with a finished goal in mind, but at the same time, you need to enjoy the things you are doing and do them well.
- Rule Number Three: don’t be afraid to experiment and learn new things. Get out of your comfort zone, learn from others and meet the deadlines.
“Don’t aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.”
– Victor Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning”
Trying Something New Challenge
So rather than trying to limit your experiences for a perfect outcome, start engaging yourself in a variety of new activities. This will let you forget your fear of failure and uncover more personal value. One of the strategies can be to start trying new things every day for 30 days in a row; you can also find a friend who will be doing the same as you and it will be easier to support each other and to share new experiences along the way. According to the scientists, it takes 21 days to develop a new habit which means that after 3 weeks you will get used to get out of your comfort zone and to open yourself to the world. Here you can watch an interesting video about the experience of a person who started such a challenge. Some ideas for your 30 days challenges can include:
- Trying new restaurants and new types of cuisines.
- Researching new ways of traveling to work.
- Speaking to new people at parties/events.
- Signing up for a new gym.
- Learning a new language.
- Writing a story.
- Trying a new sport.
- Holidaying in a different country.