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The Perfectionism Paradox

https://www.ripeminds.com/the-perfectionism-paradox/

ripeminds.com

The Perfectionism Paradox
Dr. Dave Schroerlucke teaches the attitudes, habits, and mental skills that promote optimal performance in competitive, high-stakes environments.

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Perfectionism: The Pursuit Of Constant Excellence

Perfectionism: The Pursuit Of Constant Excellence

There is a common trait among many high-achievers: Perfectionism. Celebrated geniuses like Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, Steve Jobs and even Kanye West share an obsessive commitment towards excellence.

The pursuit of excellence does have its pitfalls, and perfectionism does have the tendency to mutate into a constant striving for increasingly unrealistic goals, leading to frustration, anxiety, and a decrease in one’s productivity.

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Perfectionism: The Good

The good aspects of being perfect are intrinsic motivation, extreme focus, ambitious goals, strong work ethic and high personal standards. They are also highly coachable.

Elite performers are often perfectionists as their activity requires error-free performance.

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Ronnie O’Sullivan

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Perfectionism: The Bad

Self-criticism and a focus on eliminating errors impairs one’s performance by disrupting the natural ability to demonstrate the learned skills. This leads to a vicious circle where there is a loss of confidence and further critical analysis of one’s diminishing performance.

This leads to training inefficiency and even burnout.

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Winston Churchill

"“The maxim ‘Nothing but perfection’ may be spelt 'Paralysis' .”

Winston Churchill

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Perfectionism: The Ugly

The darker side of perfectionism is a form of psychopathology which has been linked to many psychological problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic anxiety, eating disorders and even suicide.

Other factors of the bad side of perfectionism are loneliness, depression, low self-esteem and lack of life satisfaction.

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Anne Wilson Schaef

"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.”

Anne Wilson Schaef

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Two-Faced Nature Of Perfectionism

The Perfectionism and performance relationship has two basic dimensions:

  1. Striving For Perfection: When one is geared towards high personal standards and ambitious goals. This is a positive mental state.
  2. Concern for Perfection: When one is focused on the perceived gap between expectation and actual performance, and dwells over the mistakes, making it a negative mental state.

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Goal Orientation

  • One’s achievement is closely related to the Striving (positive) aspect of perfectionism, where mastery of the task and learnings is kept in focus.
  • If one is unable to achieve their goals, it is often related to the Concern (negative) aspect of perfectionism, where the focus is ego, competition, defensiveness, and avoidance of failure.

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Perfectionist Behavior

Perfectionist Behavior

Perfectionist behavior is a broad personality trait prevalent in today's generation. It is defined as a hypercritical relationship with one's self.

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Perfectly Curated Life

Perfectionism is a growing cultural phenomenon that has engulfed a large set of people including celebrities. Some of the causes are:

  • Modern parenting
  • Competitive economy
  • Consumerism and advertising
  • Social Media.

Perfectionism x1000

Social Media acts as the biggest culprit in amplifying perfectionism as youngsters can constantly compare their looks and their lives to others in easily measurable ways.

There is an increased expectation from our family and our peers to be perfect in all aspects of our lives.

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Let go of the need to be perfect

  1. Start small: Get comfortable to let go of the need to be perfect from the beginning.
  2. Try an outside perspective: We're usually hard on ourselv...

“Done” is always better than “Perfect”

“Perfect” and “productive” aren’t the same thing; perfectionism is actually counterproductive.

Just because society is placing a higher value on perfection doesn’t mean you’re actually getting more done.

3 types of perfectionism

  • Self-oriented: when people are highly critical of themselves.
  • Other-oriented: when people are highly critical of others.
  • Socially-prescribed: when people think others expect them to be perfect and then pressure themselves to be perfect in order to meet those expectations.

Positive and destructive perfectionism

Positive and destructive perfectionism

Constructive or healthy perfectionism is a personality trait that is associated with finding enjoyment and fulfilment from doing things well. The focus is process-oriented,...

The roots of destructive perfectionism

A possible explanation of why people develop unhealthy perfectionism is that they grow up without a sense of support, safety, and nurturing. Another reason can be a reaction to childhood trauma or extreme cultural expectations, where appearing perfect is a strategy for survival.

The consequence of destructive perfectionism is often deep-seated emotional difficulties and unresolved traumatic experiences that might eventually turn into a potentially severe depression.

Traits of a perfectly hidden depression syndrome

  1. Your perfectionism is fueled by a constant, critical inner voice of intense shame or fear.
  2. You demonstrate an excessive sense of responsibility and look for solutions.
  3. You are unable to accept and express painful emotions.
  4. You dismiss or discount abuse or trauma.
  5. You worry a lot and avoid situations where you're not in control.
  6. You are highly focused on tasks and expectations and validate yourself with your accomplishments.
  7. You have an active and sincere concern for the wellbeing of others, while seldom allowing anyone into your inner world.
  8. You feel you have to acknowledge your gratitude.
  9. You have emotional difficulty with personal intimacy.
  10. You might have anxiety and control issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic and eating disorders.