Being Comfortable With Not Knowing - Deepstash

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Science-Backed Ways To Quiet Your Inner Perfectionist

Being Comfortable With Not Knowing

To feel comfortable with the uncomfortable:

  • Think what’s the worst-case scenario of a situation that's stressing you out, to see that the consequences aren’t as bad.
  • Have a safety net with plans, friends, and resources to decrease your fear of failure.
  • Reframe the fear of the unknown as excitement.

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Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress
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Try to identify things you avoided due to fear of failure and situations where your perfectionism wasn’t worth it or moments where you did well despite being uncertain.

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Get an outside perspective on your perfectionist tendencies

Talk honestly and openly to someone about your tendencies and how you’re working on getting better.

Ask them to tell you when you are being too fussy about something so you can think about it.

Interrupting the cycle of rumination
  • Take note of when you’re ruminating and what triggers it until you can see your patterns and find ways to counteract them.
  • Don't trust your first reaction when ruminating. Most of the time, it colors negatively your read of the situation.
  • Seek a diversion to break the rumination cycle.
  • Think positively: remembering your successes and times you tried new things helps you to not be avoidant of tasks you can’t do perfectly.
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.
3 types of perfectionism
  • Self-oriented: the irrational desire to be perfect.
  • Socially prescribed: perceiving excessive expectations from others.
  • Other-oriented: placing unrealistic...
Perfectionism harms productivity

Seeking perfection can create paralysis that hurts productivity. 

You procrastinate to distract yourself from the big scary tasks you have to do. And you end up beating yourself up later because you wasted so much time.

Julie Morgenstern
Julie Morgenstern

“Perfectionism is a pretty rampant problem (...) It may be worse in an era of social media where everybody’s posting the most curated, best, perfect lives and achievements. We’re constantly surrounding by the best way, the perfect way, the right way in our personal and our work lives.”