Does Perfectionism Smother Fulfillment?
Do you hold yourself to high standards for everything? If so, you’re not alone. Most determined people strive for perfection. Heck, so have I! I become aware of my desire for perfectionism when people who have high expectations of me, ask me to do something.
There’s evidence that constant perfectionism can get in the way of a happy and productive life. It’s connected to procrastination, low productivity, and depression.
More often than not, continual high standards aren’t needed for us to succeed in life. Think about people like Einstein, Oprah, Donald Trump, Walt Disney and Bill Gates. These famously accomplished people have reported that they owe their achievements to their unstoppable nature and willingness to make mistakes.
The same goes with other exceptional leaders you have come across in your career – they admit their setbacks and move on.
The trick is to recognize when high standards are necessary and when they actually get in the way of innovation, efficiency and fulfillment. Getting to the place of good enough on most tasks and projects allows us to get more done without compromising quality. This open-minded approach allows for creativity, innovation and fun.
Freedom from perfection starts with flexibility, compassion and faith in self. Remember that you are good enough as you are. You are intrinsically valuable.
The next time you notice that you’re driving yourself hard, procrastinating on projects or tasks, or feeling self-critical about your accomplishments, ask yourself:
“Am I holding myself to standards that aren’t needed in these circumstances?”
“What would good enough look and feel like?”
Think flexibly about your project or task and let your standards relax. Try the “good enough approach” for your day to day tasks and reserve your high standards for rare and special circumstances. You’ll not only get more done; you’ll also feel motivated to do more!