“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” ~ Salvador Dali
Being a perfectionist is a curse. It doesn’t do you any good. I promise.And I should know. Being a perfectionist has been the reason for my successes and my failures, but I think if I were to tally them up, perfectionism has led to more failures than successes. The bad news is perfectionism may be genetic, an article in the Wall Street Journal, Inside the Minds of the Perfectionists – WSJ.com, says that scientists now believe that genetic factors, more than anything else, influence whether or not you are a perfectionist.
“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”-Winston Churchill
It makes sense to me. I have a daughter who is cursed with it, has been since she was tiny. I have always been cursed with it. I used to be proud of it. But now, from the vantage point of more years of experience than I want to admit to, I have to say that perfectionism has hindered me more than it has helped. I only have to look at all the projects I have discarded because they didn’t meet my own standards, which I always set high enough to give me an excuse to give up.
Ten Reasons Perfectionism Sucks
- Nobody is perfect
- Perfection is in the eye of the beholder
- Perfectionism is an excuse for not finishing things
- Perfectionism is an excuse for not taking risks
- Perfectionism leads to ulcers
- Perfectionism is immobilizing
- Perfectionism is self-abuse
- Perfectionists are never content
- Perfectionism never got nobody nothing
- Perfection is an illusion
Doing things well is wonderful and important but setting unrealistic expectations and expecting that things always be perfect can be a trap. Bottom line, nobody and nothing is perfect and when we expect that our own work, children, spouses, and pets be perfect we are setting ourselves up for failure. Likewise, when we demand perfection of ourselves it can create more of a hindrance than a help. Do what you love, enjoy yourself and don’t worry if what you do lives up to some arbitrary set of standards.
Perfect the art of non-perfection and you will find peace, happiness, and success. Embrace your flaws and you can conquer the world.