How to Stop Being a Perfectionist

by Laura Kronen on July 20, 2012

stop being a perfectionist

Perfectionist. A very overused word.  And a very dangerous title to give yourself.  Besides having higher blood pressure, anxiety, and mental health problems than most people, a self claimed perfectionist will only accomplish 10% of what they want in life. When focusing on finishing one thing before you can start another, you’re bounding your creativity and productivity.  If you spend too much time “perfecting” something, you’re likely doing it at the expense of moving on to the next thing.

Perfectionism doesn’t have to conflict with “sweating the details”. It’s natural to assume that just giving up on perfectionism means you’ll no longer have any attention to detail.  But that’s absurd.  There’s a difference between having awareness of detail and expecting perfection in order to finish something.  It’s still possible – in fact desirable – to stay on top of things to the level in which you need to in order to ensure a high-quality output, but this doesn’t mean you get to be unreasonable with respect to the overall outcome.

Just doing something over nothing puts you in an elite group of people. In so many cases, just doing something is enough.  Signing up for a class even if it’s not the perfect time, turning in an assignment even though you know you could have done more, etc.  There are hundreds of examples where the majority of people will agonize until things are perfect and never do anything at all, while you can get something “good enough” out for the world to see.

Collaboration and perfection don’t mix. Have you ever tried to work with other people on something but first demanded your contribution to be “perfect”?  That’s a sure-fire way to a failed partnership.  Collaboration requires being open to feedback in both directions – if you’re shooting to be perfect, or if you believe you are, you’re not going to play well with others.

It isn’t what you do all or some of the time, it’s what you do most of the time. There’s never a “perfect time”, and you can never execute something “perfectly”.  But if you’re able to perform well most of the time, it can make up for the times when you’re not “perfect”.  Perfection isn’t possible, but spending more of your time doing something well is.

Even if you think something’s perfect, it won’t be perfect for long.  Think about it.  Now move on.

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{ 2 comments }

Nadine Haven July 28, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thats good, your blog is cool, i like it. Thanks for the efforts my friend.

Shane K Richardson July 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Much informative and useful article… I like it personally…

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