“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again” (Julia Cameron).
If you identify as a perfectionist, you surely have one of two views on how it operates in your life.
The case may be you see it as helpful when working and you pay more attention to detail.
Or it is what prevents you from moving on to the next thing because you can’t leave it until it is 100% complete and 100% satisfaction has been achieved which may never even come.
Perfectionism ruins peoples potential, that is the truth. So I ask…
Why do people proudly respond in an interview that their biggest weakness is perfectionism thinking it will better their chances of getting the job?
Dealing With The Perfectionism Disease
If you suffer from perfectionism, you know that a lot of what occurs is you try and make the best product you can.
You end up preventing yourself from bettering your future attempts because you want the first attempt to be perfect.
Perfectionism is an irrational tendency to strive for flawlessness.
The notion that can’t be accepted by a perfectionist is something is never perfect. We may call something perfect, but that is an exaggeration of our ability to judge how well done something may be.
If something can always be shown to be flawed, it’s apparent perfectionism is counter intuitive and needs to be handled accordingly.
A good tip I have for slowly ridding oneself of perfectionism, is to do what many adaptations require and start small:
- Learn to move perfectionist tendencies to specific parts of your work
- Don’t let it rule the entirety of what you are trying to accomplish
It can be hard to stop being a perfectionist completely, but if you are attempting to remove the impulse, choose one aspect of your work to allow it to stay.
Repeatedly attacking a goal try to get it right the first time will do nothing but prevent you from moving on.
For example, say you are pursuing learning to paint like Bob Ross.
Instead of getting caught in technique, colors, and whatever else may hinder you from actually making the painting, choose one element to make perfect.
First choose to make the first attempt perfect in getting the color right. See how close to Bob Ross’s color palate you can recreate.
The next attempt you can focus on the types of strokes and how he makes many of the textures in his paintings. And in future attempts another change of focus, and so on…
If the perfectionist in you is complicating things, it’s best to try and learn to let it only affect one aspect of your product at a time.
Learn To Trick Yourself Into Seeing It As Perfect
“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow” (Beyonce).
Yes I’m using a Beyonce quote. But tell me it’s not perfect for this article.
Use my choice to use that quote as an illustration.
I could’ve told myself this quote won’t work, that people won’t acknowledge it as credible because it’s not a scholar’s word. I could’ve read it over and over rethinking my choice of putting it here for everyone to read. What did I do to get passed it and allow myself to keep working?
I lied to myself and said it’s perfect. The more I might look at it the more I might question my decision so the best solution is to keep moving on. It’s already typed, it’s already here, so why not leave it?
If we can successfully lie to ourselves we are able to move on.
If however, you don’t yet have the ability to lie to yourself, have someone else lie for you.
Ask someone, does this look right? Expect them to either give you some sort of change so after you may feel closer to perfection, or if for the sake of simplicity, they tell you it’s perfect, then it is. Move on.
Perfectionism is anxiety embedded in productivity.
The only way to stop asking ourselves what needs to be changed, is to lie and say nothing needs to be changed. If we keep striving for perfection, it will never come because we will never learn that it doesn’t exist.
Is There A Good Side To Perfectionism
I hate to regress in this direction, but to an extent, there can be a good side to perfectionism. It comes in a narrow selection though.
Those capable of moving on, those capable of turning the perfectionist switch on and off may have the advantage. Maybe there will be a rare circumstance when holding on to something and attempting to perfect it will benefit the individual.
Depending on how you operate, you have to be willing to strive for greatness, but also strive for change when necessary.
If perfectionism rules over you, rid yourself of it. If you can ignore it by intent, all the more power to you.
Conclusively, if you’ve suffered from perfectionism, you know how hard it can affect people’s daily lives and prevent potential.
Most people know, if you wait for the perfect moment to do something, you will end up waiting forever. The same can be said about creation. The closer we attempt to reach perfection, the less we are actually achieving betterment.
Learn to like what you produce, learn to love what you’ve do, but also learn how to let go of what no longer needs attention.