Mind & Body Tools to Optimize Your Life
Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? How would you even know if you are one?
It’s easy to spot in others. But usually we have difficulty observing it in ourselves.
- 0.1 The signs you are a perfectionist
- 0.2 1. you think in black and white
- 0.3 2. you spend an endless amount of time perfecting something
- 0.4 3. you are defensive towards criticism
- 1 Or look at it in this way, you’re a perfectionist if you carry these 2 core beliefs:
- 2 Going for excellence
- 3 Besides, perfectionism is really counterproductive
- 4 Still don’t know if you’re a perfectionist?
The signs you are a perfectionist
Let’s have a look at the mind of a perfectionist. You are a perfectionist if:
1. you think in black and white
It’s either all or nothing. It’s either “yes, I’ll start this task, and I’ll do it perfectly whatever it takes, even if I have to not eat or sleep for two days”. Or it is: “no, I’m not starting this, there’s too much risk and I probably will not succeed”.
As a perfectionist, you have absolute goals. It’s only the end goal that matters. The process in itself doesn’t matter to you (let alone enjoying the process – the horror!)
2. you spend an endless amount of time perfecting something
You’re highly conscious of mistakes being made and highly critical of those. You’re really your own harshest critic. You keep on wittling at a task or project until the very last end (just before the deadline!). And still then still you fear putting it ‘out there’ (if you do at all). Procrastination anyone?
‘Good’ is never good enough to you. If it isn’t the best, it’s worthless (notice the logical fallacy in that one?).
And you want to be the best in everything you do, even if it is something you’re not interested in.
3. you are defensive towards criticism
You are very conscious of any situation which might give others the perception you are not perfect. Basically you have a fear of failure and you want to look good in other people’s eyes.
Do you recognize this behavior?
Or look at it in this way, you’re a perfectionist if you carry these 2 core beliefs:
- perfection is possible
- it should be obtained
“Perfection is possible”
Is that so? Can you really know that? Every project or task could probably have been done better according to our human standards. And is there anything in the world that is 100% fully perfect to your mind? Can we really know that?
Nature doesn’t think in terms of perfect/imperfect
Every leaf or rose has a blemish/imperfection somewhere. And yes, we can consider these “perfect” in their “imperfectness”. But the word “perfect” is just that: a word. It is a mental, made up concept. In nature, everything just is. And of course everything is perfect as it is. Even the things you consider imperfect.
“Perfection should be obtained”
Even though perfection might not be possible, maybe you say it’s good to strive for it anyway as if it existed?
In that way what we create in this world will be the best it can be. With maximum impact.
There’s something to be said for that mindset. I think we’re allowed to go for excellence.
Going for excellence
Excellence is simply the best you can do in every moment without unhealthy patterns of low self-worth attached to your effort.
The problem really arises when we think we need to be better, or do better, than what there is at the moment. There’s always a limit to what we can, or can handle, in every situation. Perfectionism is more akin to self-sabotage than it is to excellence. It is something that’s associated with procrastination and a lack of self-worth.
Do the best you can, that’s good enough already. Don’t overdo it. Try too hard and you, your mind, or your body will suffer. Yes, limits are there to be stretched, but not in a too fast or unhealthy way.
Besides, perfectionism is really counterproductive
It doesn’t deliver. The effort is just not worth it. See the next post for this.
Still don’t know if you’re a perfectionist?
I doubt that (because it’s an obvious, and even extremist, behavior), but here are some more resources to find out:
- A funny list that made me smile: 19 signs you’re an incurable perfectionist
- A quiz that tells you if you are or not
So do you consider yourself a perfectionist?
Next post –>How to Overcome Perfectionism