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3 Ways Being a Perfectionist Leads You to Absolute Failure

perfectionism

Introduction

Perfect is the enemy of the good

– Voltaire

I’m a proud imperfectionist…I’m PERFECTLY imperfect…I’m a recovering perfectionist.

You may be wondering – “why would he ever give striving for perfection? Doesn’t he want things to be perfect?

Look, I get it. It’s a weird thing to say that I’m so over perfectionism.

If it floats your boat, then feel free to strive for perfection. If you want to NEVER be happy or satisfied with anything in life, then be my guess to set your expectations at an absurdly, unrealistically high standard that can never (I repeat NEVER) possibly be met. 

beauty-and-the-beauty-perfectionism-be-our-guest

Seriously…do you believe that anything short of perfection is horrible, and that even minor imperfections will lead to utter catastrophe? Because that’s the essence of perfectionism – that nothing is EVER good enough.

Do you seriously want to live your life trying to achieve this unattainable standard? Something that’s only in your head?

The truth is – perfectionism is an illusion and simply isn’t how you should measure success.

And the sooner you realize that and quit on perfectionism, the better it’ll be for you. Your life will be way better off if you become a recovering perfectionist just like me.

Don’t believe me? Here are 3 reasons why perfectionism is actually not perfect at all…

BONUS: Want to overcome your obsession with perfectionism?

Get FIVE affirmations to help you start thinking in a new direction.

3 Reasons Why Perfectionism Ruins Your Life

1. Perfectionism leads to regret and dissatisfaction

perfectionism panda

Think of ALL the things you regret. I’d bet that most of them relate to perfectionism. Either you didn’t do something because you wanted it to be perfect OR you did something and regretted it because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.

How does this regret make you feel? Probably not very good.

study found that perfectionism can lead to something called “post-event rumination,” which is just a fancy way of saying perfectionism makes you overthink things. 

Overthinking causes you to second guess your decisions and choices. When you do this, it becomes difficult to let go of past decisions (and past mistakes).

By always wanting everything to turn out perfect and wondering what you could’ve done to make things perfect, you become dissatisfied with the result – no matter how they turned out.  

2. Perfectionism negatively influences your work

It must be odd reading that, huh? How can perfection make your work worse instead of better?

If you have a perfectionist mentality, it’s pretty freaking hard to say “I’m done. It’s perfect.” So what do you do? You edit things, tweak every little detail, and work non-stop until you’re finally satisfied…which usually NEVER happens.

This unhealthy obsession leads to stress, fatigue, and burnout. (Sounds wonderful.)

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On top of that, a study found that individuals who identify as perfectionists are also more likely to procrastinateIn other words, perfectionism is another form of procrastination. I’ve used the excuse of “if it’s not going to be perfect than I’d rather not do it” countless times as a way of procrastinating. 

So yeah, I guess it does negatively affect your work.

3. Perfectionism damages your self-esteem

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An entirely different study (lots of studies in this story) found that perfectionism can hurt your body image and play a role in the development of eating disorders. 

This happens when people constantly compare their bodies to the “ideals” we find in movies, TV, and magazines. These comparisons cause us to pick and poke at our body, causing us to be disappointed with who we are. 

It makes you believe that because you’re not perfect that you’re NOT worthy. That if you lost these many pounds, bought these shoes, or changed your nose that people will actually love you and accept you.

That’s not a way to live. 

You don’t deserve this kind of harsh self-criticism. Perfectionism is hugely detrimental to nurturing the most unique and special parts of ourselves. We shouldn’t see the world as either perfect OR flawed.

[Bonus] Perfectionism is a huge risk factor in suicides

Yup…your obsession with perfection can lead to take your own life

“If my life isn’t perfect, why bother living at all?”

“If I can’t be perfect, then what can I be?”

I’m sorry, but nothing is worth ending your life over – especially something as stupid as perfection. 

2 Simple Ways to Let Go of Perfectionism

As you can see above, perfectionism can destroy our happiness and our lives in 4 horrific ways (and there are countless other ways we didn’t bring up). So are you ready to start on the road to recovery?

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Great! 

The first thing you need to know is that perfectionism is a mindset, so the best way to let go of it is to start building a new mindset.

Here are 2 ways to help you reset your mindset:

1. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be imperfect

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Take out an index card (or any kind of paper) and write down this saying:

“I AM THE BEST VERSION OF MY SELF IN THIS VERY MOMENT.” 

Tape the index card somewhere around your home where you’ll see it every day like your bathroom mirror. Every time you see this index card, say the affirmation to yourself 3 times out loud. (Or loudly inside your head if you don’t want to freak out your roomies.) 

Sure, it may seem silly, but it’s all about changing your mindset. 

Slowly you’ll start to believe the statement and your mindset will go from “perfectionism” mindset to an “acceptance” mindset. And sooner or later, this new way of thinking spread to your daily life.

2. Adopt a “Win or Learn” mindset

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Most people assume that if you want to be successful, you have to be a perfectionist – there is only success and failure, nothing in between. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Successful people aren’t perfectionists – they have a learner’s mindset.

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In other words, they understand that life is a process, and they view “failures” as learning experiences.

Don't fear the future. Dare to shape it. Click To Tweet

To help get you in a “Win or Learn” mentality, you need to comfortable with “failing”. Do this by putting yourself in a situation where you’ll fail. You’re not going to be overly excited about it, but after a while, you’ll find that failure isn’t that all that bad.

In fact, failure is actually good.

When you fail at something, it means you’re challenging yourself in a positive and productive way. So laugh at your mistakes and faults, and make them work for you. Mistakes happen on the way to success, and even the most embarrassing and humiliating fail can be channeled in a positive way.

Trying and failing will always be better than never trying at all. Click To Tweet

Where to go from here

Perfectionism is a barrier that blocks out happiness and let’s in fear – fear of doing something wrong, fear of not being good enough, and fear of criticism.

As a society we tend to hold up perfectionism as a sign of virtue, of achievement. However, perfectionism is ultimately self-defeating. Perfectionism is the enemy of success.

It keeps you from being productive, causes you to be overwhelmed, and keeps you from taking a leap of faith on your self. It makes you believe you and anything associated with you is unacceptable.

Simply put, perfectionism sucks AND I’m over it.

You don’t have time in life for bullshit that does nothing but chip away at your ability to pursue your goals, your happiness, and your life.

Being happy with your life requires that you let go of these expectations and requires you to learn to be content with how things are, rather than obsess over how they ought to be in an “ideal, perfect world.” Coz guess what?

Nothing is perfect. I repeat, NOTHING is perfect.

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Life rarely works out exactly the way you want – whether it’s relationships, work, or goals. (Spoiler Alert)

Perfection is a lie. Perfection is a lie designed to ensure you believe you're never good enough. Click To Tweet

It’s the voice in your head that says “just being” cannot be enough, and it demands you be different, better, more, less, something else…that you’re never good enough.

If you strive for perfection, you’re setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations, failure, and disappointment. In many ways, perfectionism is the opposite of growth and happiness. It keeps us stuck and unsatisfied.

The pursuit of flawlessness is irrational and crippling.

So don’t chase perfection. Chase growth.

Be okay with mistakes. In fact, embrace your mistakes, because that’s how you grow and get better.

To truly be happy, you need to first learn to let go of your unrealistically high expectations about life.

Because if you ever truly want to be person you want to be, to be this “perfect self”, you need to let go of the idea that there is anything more perfect than who are you are now. So, let go and know that, even if this moment isn’t perfect, it’s good enough.

Don't wait until the perfect moment because there isn't one more perfect than right now. Click To Tweet

That right there is…perfection.

black swan perfect

Thanks for Reading!

Know a recovering perfectionist? Share this with them! That’d be perfect. 🙂