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The Perfectionism Paradox

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Perfectionism Paradox

The Perfectionism Paradox

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

ripeminds.com

9

Key Ideas

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.

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.

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan

"“Looking for perfection is the only way to motivate yourself.”

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.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

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

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.

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.

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.

While settin...

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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Learn To Handle Criticism
Learn To Handle Criticism

If criticism makes you defensive, an attitude change can help.

Constructive criticism can show you how to improve, making your less-than-perfect performanc...

Set Reasonable Goals

Perfectionists tend to set goals of unreasonable excellence with no learning curve or room for error.

Dividing your goals into more achievable steps and rewarding yourself when you achieve them, will make you less stressed, less likely to give up and more forgiving of mistakes.

Alter Your Self-Talk In a Positive Way

Perfectionists tend to be very self-critical but this can perpetuate unhealthy behaviors and decrease their self-esteem.

By altering your self-talk positively, you can better enjoy life and gain an increased appreciation for yourself and your work.

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Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress
Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress

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.

You...

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.

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Not Celebrating Your Success

It's never good enough, so you get sucked so far into the details that you become frustrated.

Even when your goal is complete and results in success, you believ...

Pursuing Perfection, But Never Feeling Perfect

Even if you have a clear goal of what perfection means, obsessively pursuing it is a sign of insecurity.

And insecurity, when not addressed directly, doesn’t go away because a concrete objective has been achieved, it manifests itself into self-criticism or a new overvalued goal.

Not Allowing Yourself To Fail

Instead of forgiving and viewing mistakes as a learning opportunity, you criticize and put pressure on yourself for not predicting a less than perfect outcome. You feel inadequate, and these feelings preoccupy your mind, often to the point of losing productivity.

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“Done” is always better than “Perfect”
“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...

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.
What causes perfectionism
  • Competitive work environments: If you work in a culture that demands perfection, you’ll probably start demanding perfection.
  • Pride and personality: Some persons have personalities that are naturally susceptible to perfectionism.
  • Fear of failure: People identify with their failure. They will strive for perfection as self-preservation.

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Perfectionism

It can either propel you into serious action or paralyze your ability to accomplish even the most basic tasks.

Often, those who struggle with perfectionism have issues giving up control. In ...

Accept the outcome

If you’re struggling with the thought of submitting a task that you feel is less than perfect, create a list of the worst-case scenarios.

Ask yourself what's the worst that can happen. You'll most likely find out that the only negative aspect is the continuous rumination that'll keep you from finishing other important work.

Shifting your perspective

The positive side of perfectionism is the idea that you possess the motivation and a level of detailed attention that is unmatched by many.

The trouble happens, though, when you get so caught up in the details that you fail to see the bigger picture.

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Perfectionism and to-do lists

To-do lists can help perfectionists move past our paralysis. They may find making a list to be a reassuring guide to their day.

But there's also a risk: to-do lists can backfire i...

Break down projects

 ... into manageable tasks. 

This way, you're armed with a set of concrete actions to take rather a vague cloud of high expectations.

Define the next action

... rather than all subsequent steps.

Focusing only on the next action gives you permission to work on something even if you don’t have it all figured out—which is crucial to completing tasks that in the past have left you paralyzed.

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Vulnerability
It is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

You cannot outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite. The inability to lean into the discomfort of vuln...

Daring greatly

... is about showing up and being seen, about owning our vulnerability and understanding it as the birthplace of courage.

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both.

  • What’s keeping you out of the arena? Can you name the fear? Where do you want to be braver?
  • Figure out how you’re currently protecting yourself from vulnerability:  Perfectionism, Cynicism, Control etc.

People became philosophers when they began to question what guides their thinking and analyze their thoughts. 💭

Today, one of the most common destructive thought patterns is all-or-nothing thinking. In other words, perfectionism❗️ 

Today, one of the most common destructive thought patterns is all-or-nothing thinking. In other words, perfectionism❗️ 

Pragmatism — as opposed to perfectionism — does not share the same paralyzing hang-ups; it takes what it can get. Our pursuits should be aimed at prog...

Pragmatism — as opposed to perfectionism — does not share the same paralyzing hang-ups; it takes what it can get. Our pursuits should be aimed at progress, no matter how much it’s possible for us to make.  🔗

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