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Per Merriam-Webster dictionary perfectionism is defined as “a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable”. But what is perfect? Is “perfect” real? Let’s see it like this. When you create a drawing, painting or photograph, or you write a piece and you are a perfectionist, you will see it as flawed no matter what. This is because if you are a perfectionist, you most likely work hard to achieve your goals at the expense of everything else. In the end, because you are one, you will still be dissatisfied with the result.
Oftentimes, perfectionists are afraid that the world could see their flaws and reject them for it. Thus working extra hard to have that not happen. They have impossible standards that nobody could achieve, but don’t realize that. Because of this perfectionism is actually counterproductive. It hinders them from having success. While they are obsessing about the details they forget the bigger picture. Self-doubt is a deeply ingrained behavior in them.
If you are one not all is lost. There are ways to overcome this and move from this unhealthy kind of perfectionism to a healthier kind of being. In this way you will be able to look forward to reaching your goal, instead of feeling dread that you might not succeed or do as well as you like.
I know I am a perfectionist. And that’s not such a bad thing. Because I know it, I can counter it with action. It’s much harder if you don’t realize you are one. Perfectionism manifests itself in my work or my view of my work through noticing every single detail that is not right or not as I imagined. Though others usually do not see that. Because they can’t see the perfect picture that I painted in my head of the outcome. So why obsess about it?
If you are a perfectionist you often procrastinate. This is because you are waiting for the perfect moment to do something. If you do there is just one thing to say: It will not come.
This sounds like two opposites. But it’s far from the truth. The more often you fail, and the quicker you fail, the faster you will succeed. This is because you already found out how not to do it. Thus find your path to success quicker. There is no such thing as somebody who has success who never failed on their way. To think this is unrealistic. The way to your goals is not a straight line.
Don’t wait until your piece or creation is perfect to finish it. Just finish it! Set yourself a deadline and get it done and stop when you get to your deadline. There will be things that are incomplete, imperfect or imprecise. That is fine. Accept it as part of the process.
Perfectionist practice often very negative self-talk. This is counterproductive. Be kind to yourself. Take breaks when you need them. Switch your negative self talk to a neutral, then to a positive one. This will not come in a day, but with practice it will get better. How would you encourage your best friend? Talk to you that way. This also means to take care of your health. Don’t forgo sleeping, eating or drinking enough water for work.
Take time to celebrate your victories. Learn to take a break when you achieved your goal, when you finished your piece or even if you found a way that didn’t work. Strive for progress, not perfection. And celebrate it.
The 5 steps to overcome perfectionism are:
Comment below with ways that you found to overcome perfectionism and how it helped you to succeed.
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