Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a harsh task-master. I know this because I've submitted to the self-imposed lash many a time. Is it useful? Sometimes, in it's extreme though, it interferes with production. And that's why it's good to get reasonable. A situation doesn't always merit perfection and the bar can be set so high that the outcome is nothing. New research takes a look at perfectionism:

The more strongly participants in the study thought in this either-or fashion, the more likely they were to display the kind of extreme perfectionism that can lead to mental health problems.

In short, these are people who not only swallow many of the maxims for success but take them as absolutes. At some level they know that it’s possible to succeed after falling short (build on your mistakes: another boilerplate rule). The trouble is that falling short still reeks of mediocrity; for them, to say otherwise is to spin the result.

Perfectionism is fine as long as it doesn't interfere with living. It can steal the joy from just about anything. Go read the whole article. It's interesting.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. I am married to a "perfectionist" and I don't always know what to do with that. It has often put my stomach in knots.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

With me, it comes from being an ex-Kid Genius. A Kid Genius is expected to do everything perfectly the first time, without EVER having learned or been taught how to do it.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'I DON'T KNOW HOW?' YOU'RE A GENIUS!"

And if you never attempt anything, you never get blamed or belittled when you fail.

sandy said...

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