Often times being a perfectionist is considered a good trait. You get things done right. Nothing goes unnoticed. Your essays don’t have any spelling mistakes. Your emails are polite and well-worded. Your projects are always meticulously planned and implemented. What could be wrong about that?
But, to be slightly melodramatic, there’s also the dark side of perfectionism. Firstly, you’re probably wasting time. Is it really necessary to triple and quadruple check that email? Will the world really end if there’s one spelling mistake?
Secondly, and perhaps worse, is the things you don’t do because your worried you won’t do them right. This post was actually inspired by me trying to figure out why I have been unable to blog for a month, despite the best of intentions. I realized that I was holding out for perfection. I couldn’t post just anything, it had to be the “perfect” post. Witty, intelligent, interesting. Finally, I realized that that I was allowing my perfectionism to run away with me.
Maybe you have the same problem. Here are 5 reasons you should get over your perfectionism:
- You’re wasting time. As a perfectionist that should bother you. What about the idea of perfect productivity? Can that really be achieved when you’re obsessing over the details?
- Perfection is unattainable. This is obvious. But somehow easy to forget. Repeat it to yourself.
- Perfectionism leads to stress. Stress is bad for you. WebMD reports that stress hormones rose higher in perfectionists that others in a high pressure situation such as an interview. Perfectionism has also been associated with depression.
- It’s making you scared of mistakes. This is holding you back from what you really want to achieve. Start to fear regret of missed opportunities more than mistakes.
- It’s holding you back from being happy. As a perfectionist myself, I can understand the desire to say I will be happy if … But this probably isn’t true. There’s a psych study that shows that lottery winners revert to their previous state of happiness within a year. Your life will never be perfect, learn to be happy anyway.
So now, belatedly, I have my New Year’s resolution: to make sure my perfectionism stays part-time.