Perfectionism on the surface seems like it would be a good thing. What if we want to do and present our best work to the world? That’s a good thing, right?
Well, what if that same sense of perfectionism causes you to turn in your “perfect” work late, or you missed your child’s play while creating this work? That’s a bad thing, right?
The question then becomes, “Is perfectionism good, or bad?” The answer is, it can be both. The difference between “good” and “bad” perfectionism is how well we can manage our daily life. If the need for perfect work comes with the sacrifice of other work, or more importantly, the people in our lives, then learning how to handle perfectionism should be a priority.
On the other hand, if the fear of failure drives a perfectionist to be more methodical in their work to alleviate stress, make clear goals, and recognize when enough’s enough, then it can be considered a good thing.
It is not unusual for perfectionism to rob us of a significant amount of time doing things we love with the people we love. Even when a perfectionist is present in body, they are rarely present in mind. They exist in a state of tunnel vision and are not allowing themselves to recognize all that they have to be grateful for and offer outside of their work.
Chasing perfectionism isn’t allowing us to live our best lives. The goal of achieving the perfect vision limits our ability to see the possibility in everything around us.
“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” ~ Brené Brown
5 Reasons to Stop Chasing Perfection
1. Perfection Promotes Procrastination
Perfectionists will often procrastinate while trying to find the “perfect” solution to the task at hand. Before they know it, the deadline is fast approaching. Overthinking the problem usually ends up with an over-complicated plan of attack that can derail the best of intentions.
2. Perfection Creates a False Sense of Awareness
Perfectionists are so focused on the thing that’s in their sight that they don’t see what’s happening around them. When someone puts their entire focus on one thing, it can provide a false sense of awareness that will prevent them from achieving their idea of perfection.
3. Perfection Prohibits Personal Growth
Perfectionists live their life establishing habits that support a daily routine. And while a routine is good, routines that are so rigid that flexibility is discouraged will end up preventing new experiences and opportunities.
A perfectionist thinks they know what they need and aren’t open to new ways of doing things. Being open to new ideas, new habits, and new options is what allows us to grow and evolve into the people we are capable of being.
4. Perfection Lowers Productivity
The excessive attention spent on the tiniest of details can lower productivity levels and result in doing less work. On the surface, this doesn’t sound all that bad, but most businesses base their operating costs on productivity numbers. The lower the productivity, the worse it is for business. Besides being bad for business, perfectionism can also lead to becoming a workaholic and can even prevent forward motion and personal growth.
5. Perfection Can Impact Your Health
Studies show that perfectionism can be bad for your health. It can lead to earlier mortality even after controlling other health risk factors. It’s not surprising that there is a link between perfectionism and serious illness.
The mere definition of perfection can increase stress levels while leading to poor nutrition, lack of exercise and loss of sleep all in the quest of “perfect.” Consistently operating under these conditions will compromise the body’s immune system, making it much more susceptible to illness.
Being a perfectionist might seem like a good choice, but knowledge is power, and the knowledge points to perfectionism doing more harm than good.
It’s one thing for a perfectionist to push themselves to be the best they can be. It’s entirely another matter for them to push themselves at the expense of their health, relationships, and personal growth.
Remember, “perfect” doesn’t truly exist, and instead, we should strive for appreciating our lives and celebrating all the good in them. To move away from the perfectionist tendency is to adopt the mindset of doing the best we can with the information we have.
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It’s important to stop chasing the “bad” kind of perfection and harness the good kind in a way that helps us to create a more mindful existence that celebrates both the perfect and the imperfect.