Perfectionism–Trying to Achieve the Unrealistic Goal


Perfectionism is destructive because you start giving more importance to others’ reaction about your imperfection. It can be defined as, “the self-defeating thought patterns that push you to try to achieve unrealistic goals.”

Case Study

Maya was a habitual perfectionist. She was constantly involved in doing and re-doing all her work till it was better than that of the rest.

Though this habit of hers gave her personal satisfaction and boosted her ego, what she over-looked was she frequently missed out on deadlines and her peers and seniors started to look down upon her.

Her being a perfectionist had serious repercussions in her personal life too and she had to pay for it every now and then. Maya or anyone of us walking the face of earth with the feeling of improving things around us endlessly should try to understand, if consequences of imperfection in work or people are small and negligible, it is wasteful to seek perfection. In such situations it would be a waste of time, energy, resources and most of all effort.

He who stops being better stops being good. ~ Oliver Cromwell (Tweet this)

Though the above quote holds true in most cases, still we must have the wisdom to see whether our efforts to improve are going in the right direction or we are straight away heading towards habitual perfectionism.

Some of the biggest problems arise when we begin to believe that we are perfect or the world around us should be perfect. ~ Leo Buscaglia (Tweet this)

Effects of Perfectionism

  • The more we unreasonably try to improve on perfectionism,  the more adverse effects can be seen on our general health. It starts deteriorating rapidly, mostly because of the undue mental and physical stress we get ourselves into.
  • It is the common tendency of a perfectionist to seek for better and best, leading to excessive pressure in his subconscious which eventually aggravates his chances of falling prey to insomnia, blood-pressure, diabetes and many more.
  • If such a person is not able to meet his own self-built expectations, it also leads to low self-esteem.
  • Since most of his time is spent in doing and re-doing the same task, his creativity and innovative abilities are also affected to a great extent.

Dealing with Perfectionism

  1. As the first step to deal with perfectionism, one needs to be realistic in his approach towards anything and everything. The more one realizes that he needs to stay in tune with the bounds of time, resources and energy, the more he can deal with and accomplish tasks successfully.
  2. To err is human, so it is better to let go the fear of failure or mistakes.
  3. One’s intuition is the best guide to help one achieve success in all endeavors. Listen to it.
  4. A change in one’s attitude can be brought about by oneself only and not by anybody else.
  5. Focus on the entire issue and try to bring about a change.
  6. Feed your subconscious with only positive messages. Instead of telling it, “I don’t want failures” say “I want success.” This will do wonders.
  7. Stay calm. A relaxed mind will help you perform best even in the first attempt!

Conclusion – Perfectionism

Perfectionists often tend to procrastinate as well. Mostly, in order to complete the job in hand perfectly, they tend to put it off for long.
Perfectionists tend to take the blame on themselves in the hours of crisis even when they do not need to.

Author Julia Cameron writes: “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop—an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole.”

All things are made right in time. So you don’t always have to get it right on the first try.

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About the Author

Rohini Jha is an author, writer, poet and a management graduate. She ardently believes in taking life one day at a time. A spiritually inclined person, she treads life on the path of growth and self-improvement with a firm view that whatever happens, happens for the better.

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