‘Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection’
Do you strive to be the best at everything and sometimes feel that the best you have given is not enough? What do you feel when you think you have “failed” at a given task? It may be that job interview where you did not get the job or it may be feelings of inadequacy about how you raise your children.
Have you ever questioned what ‘perfect’ is? Have you ever sought to quantify it?
In truth, everyone has a different view on what perfect is. You may think how you managed a meeting was “perfect”, whilst your colleague may think it was anything but.
This doesn’t mean that you should not strive to achieve a goal. On the contrary, working to achieve your goals is positive. It is more about how you feel in relation to the whole experience, from start to finish. So let’s take a look at how you feel about it and whether you are a perfectionist.
Signs of Perfectionism
Answer yes or no to the following:
- You have a tendency to procrastinate
- You worry about not being good enough and failing
- You have unattainable goals and standards
- If things are not perfect you consider yourself a failure
- You are results-driven and do not allow yourself to enjoy the process
- You don’t allow any mistakes
- You are hard on yourself when things don’t go to plan. You effectively punish yourself
- You spot mistakes which others can’t – sometimes these can be real but at times they are imagined
You may suffer from some if not all of the above. Being unhappy and dissatisfied with your performance can lead to anxiety, guilt and depression. Working all hours to perfect something can lead to paying little regard to yourself and your health. A Swedish study involving 383 people found that perfectionism correlated with the degree of sleep problems. Lack of sleep has been known to increase risk of diseases such Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart attacks and some cancers.
There is, however, good news in that you can prevent the negative implications of perfectionism being a hindrance on your life and those around you.