Let’s agree: No matter how good you are at managing your life, you’re still not perfect. “Nobody’s perfect,” you hear most people say. It’s a simple and well-known principle, yet there are plenty of factors, both internal and external, that could lead you to just forget it.
Then you try to be perfect.
The perfectionist will tend to raise his (or her) competitive level always, which is great as it could be a healthy way to encourage overall growth, but what he fails to realize is that successful people didn’t achieve their success because of perfectionism. They achieved success despite their being perfectionists. There is evidence that given both perfectionists and non-perfectionists who have the same set of skills and talents, the perfectionists will likely perform less efficiently.
Here are ten reasons the perfectionist is destined to fail.
1. The perfectionist encourages negative feelings about himself.
This is one among the last things you should be doing. Feeling bad about yourself cannot be avoided sometimes, but it doesn’t do you any good.
Self-doubt, depression, social anxiety and fear of rejection are some of the negative results brought by perfectionism. A research even suggests that perfectionism is a risk factor for suicide. These could happen after you set standards too high and impossible to materialize, and don’t achieve them.
Don’t beat yourself up by creating a form of punishment in your mind simply for not being able to meet impossible standards, which you set yourself anyway. Do what you have to do, while making sure you have a clear mind not to preoccupy yourself with any thoughts that would only make you feel down.
2. The perfectionist hates criticism.
Even with constructive criticism, the perfectionist won’t put his defenses down, with the apparent mindset that he’s perfect, or he should at least make himself look perfect. He won’t let others notice that he is not capable of solving some of the problems that come his way.
When you don’t acknowledge any criticism, you close your mind for any possible opportunities in which you can actually learn.
Accepting you’re not perfect, or in other words, you have flaws, is supposed to be simple and shouldn’t be a big issue to ponder every time—you can be great as you are, regardless of your flaws.
3. The perfectionist compromises his happiness.
When you desperately try to make everything perfect, you may miss the part where you enjoy and learn. You keep on forcing results, with your heart and mind only on results, at the expense of your own happiness. Remember that time keeps on ticking away. Better make the most out of the little time you have—take care of your happiness!
4. The perfectionist doesn’t recognize what’s in between.
The perfectionist manifests an all-or-nothing attitude, which could be potentially dangerous in almost any way. He’ll never be satisfied with anything short of perfect. This is precisely why he will either do a “perfect” job or not do anything at all. He doesn’t explore possible ways in which he can actually improve with whatever he’s working on. He doesn’t take the time to reflect on or study some of the aspects of his tasks, which could be hindering success. Simply because of these, he’ll tend to procrastinate instead.
Don’t expect a job well done without examining the processes involved with it. Learn everything you can about it. Make no haste and finish your job with pride.
5. The perfectionist wastes too much time and energy over the unimportant matters.
Instead of focusing his time and energy on the real make-or-break facets of a project, the perfectionist will rather focus them on the shortcomings and mistakes he makes. He may even mind the “perfect” image he portrays for others. He wastes time and energy that could be used for the worthwhile matters of the day.
Don’t stress yourself if you think you didn’t perform well with a task. Always move forward. Continuously progress with a task and do your best until it’s done. If you start to think about the small details you know aren’t important anyway, stop for a moment and take a look around. Notice what everybody else is doing. Would you see right away that they’re not thinking about those annoying little details you’re thinking about? Are they on to something else more important?
Focus. And focus on what matters.
6. The perfectionist tends to become antisocial.
A study claims that the “other-oriented” type of perfectionist, one among three types, has a sense of superiority, which makes it hard for the perfectionist to join social groups, thus leading him to become antisocial. Being antisocial is actually the opposite of networking, a skill needed for success.
If you notice you’re already being critical of others, reflect on yourself. Perhaps you only see flaws in others that are also in you. Others might only be a reflection of you; you see yourself in them.
Accept yourself and try to reach out to others by opening up a bit of your personal side to them. Connect with them. Build healthy relationships.
7. The perfectionist inclines to lower productivity.
When you overthink it compromises the accomplishment or progress of some work you’re on, your focus is consumed by the not-so-important parts. When you get to do the actual work, your energy will then be lessened to already affect your productivity. Instead of simply using the energy for the work, you first waste it on the trivial parts.
A study supports this argument. The study finds that perfectionist professors are less likely to perform well with their research endeavors.
Aside from instantly wasting your time and energy trying to be perfect, realize that you have to move forward, always. Plan ahead of time, and that includes planning what your mind has to work on. Stop being a perfectionist—you’ve got work to do!
8. The perfectionist risks his health.
Studies show that perfectionism is linked to poor health. Though this connection is rather complex, neglecting your health can be a result of your catching up with matters you merely keep “perfect.”
You know your obligations are important. Everybody else’s are, too. But always find peace with yourself so that you’re never out of your senses whenever you take on your responsibilities. Don’t neglect your health. Your health is your wealth—don’t forget that.
9. The perfectionist takes pleasure in someone else’s failure.
This could also turn into a reason for his own failure.
After the constant giving in to perfectionism, and frustration, the negative values he learns will surface, clouding his point of view and blinding him from the rather easier solutions to a problem.
Perfectionism may already be severe at this point, for the perfectionist actually enjoys seeing another person fail. He’s glad to be a faultfinder.
This may lead to greater failure. Humans are designed to help each other, to show compassion, and never to take joy in others’ misfortune.
10. The perfectionist simply wants the number 10.
The perfectionist will never be satisfied with a 9. He doesn’t accept that “good enough” is already perfect in a sense.
Always make room for improvement. Don’t deprive yourself of that opportunity by forcing everything to be perfect. You have to continue learning. And sometimes, shortcomings are a disguise for such great opportunities.
Think About It
Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. Striving for excellence is great, but trying to be perfect at the expense of what really matters is utterly wrong.
Be a better perfectionist instead. If you can’t make something perfect (which you most probably won’t), try attacking its problem with a different approach. Don’t look down on yourself simply because you couldn’t perform one method. Use the opportunity to discover other ways to solve the problem. Isn’t this what successful people are made of?
Don’t be the perfectionist who’s bound to fail. Rather, be the imperfect human being who’s driven to succeed, not stopped by any adversities, certainly not by his perfectionistic quirks.
Speak Your Mind
How do you turn perfectionism into an asset? Has perfectionism made a big impact on your life? Open up and write what you think on the comments section below!