Perfectionism is like fire; helpful if contained and directed, dangerous if allowed to run amuck. Wikipedia defines perfectionism as a personality trait characterized by 1) striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards 2) accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations. The 1st set of characteristics are thought to be adaptive, the 2nd set potentially maladaptive.

Striving for Flawlessness; Setting High Performance Standards

High performance standards in areas of critical importance is vital; you want your pacemaker to work, right? Your parachute to open, your airbag to deploy. However, I’m not going to spend 30 minutes every morning making my bed to Martha Stewart standards or setting my dinner table to please her perfectionist eye either for that matter. Why? Those are not my priorities, not my goals; there are higher and better uses of my time and energy.

Critical Self-Evaluations; Concerns re Others’ Evaluations

I resolved a LONG time ago to be my own best friend, to convert my inner critic into my #1 fan, cheerleader, and coach. Further, I decided it was the good regard of the “man in the mirror” that counted most, that I would not put my sense of self into the hands of others, that I valued “self” esteem far more than “others” esteem. Rudyard Kipling’s line from the poem “IF” said it well: “…all men count with you, but none too much.”

Closing Quotes:

“If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” – Management Maxim

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire, 1694-1778

“Unrelenting perfectionism can be the enemy of happiness. Embrace being perfectly imperfect. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and keep moving forward.” – Roy Bennett

“The maxim ‘nothing avails but perfection’ may be spelled P A R A L Y S I S” – Winston Churchill, 1874-1965

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier