Nobody’s perfect, everybody knows that. Another thing considered the common truth is that the perfect is the enemy of good.
If you are reading this article, you probably deem yourself a perfectionist, but more so, you find yourself pushing too hard with your perfectionism.
It is true that when one wants things done perfectly, one often doesn’t know when to stop perfecting something that’s quite good already.
This may lead to some undesirable consequences.
We might finish projects just before (if not after) deadlines. Our friends and colleagues may see us as obsessive nitpickers, some might even diagnose us with an OCD (because everybody has a degree these days *sarcasm*). What can we do to avoid such nuisance?
Ultimately, we can apply our perfectionism to itself. We can perfect the perfectionism up until the point where it becomes perfectly healthy.
A healthy perfectionist is someone who is focusing on the strong points accompanying perfectionism – such as endurance and conscientiousness, for instance – and minimizes the possible disadvantages – basically, does not beat themselves up into demoralization.
Here are some tips on how to put your perfectionism to good use:
6 Tips for Becoming a Healthy Perfectionist
1. Open up.
If you feel like your perfectionism is somewhat destructive, then you have probably realized the need to change something.
Still, we tend to treat any ideas of a change in attitude aggressively. We see any suggested change as a call to underperforming. Obviously, it is not necessarily the case. It is our strategies that are questioned, not the aim for perfection.
Once you realize your complications, you also need to accept the ideas on what to do about them from outside.
2. Change the mindset.
If you do something not quite as awesome as you know you could, it is necessary to realize that beating yourself about it will get you nowhere.
Instead, make the most of these misfortunes.
Focus on the positive outcome: this was surely a valuable experience that will help you analyze your possible drawbacks and come up with ways to avoid them to perform even better in future. This is what a healthy perfectionist does.
3. Dig deeper.
This one is about meditation and self-realization.
Ever wondered why you are so keen on accomplishing a task perfectly? If you give it some thinking, you will most likely realize that it is not for achieving an exact result, not for someone’s approval, but rather for the enjoyment of having things turn out exactly as you wanted them to, even if they don’t – making mistakes is often good.
If you acknowledge that’s the case, it will make it easier for you to stop exaggerating the possible negative outcome of your seeming underperformance, stop worrying about it, and move on to the new tasks that await you and that you will surely make even better!
4. Shut up the inner critic.
Nobody doubts that one should treat oneself and one’s accomplishments with a grain of criticism. However, as mentioned above, a healthy perfectionist likes to perform to the fullest mainly, if not solely, because they enjoy it, and not in order to impress a potential critic.
It is unhealthy to always have your mind set on impressing someone – your parents, your teacher, your boss, God, etc.
If you find yourself severely beaten up for the imperfections of your performance, you need to realize that the one beating you up is you, and not any one of the aforementioned. So, it is only up to you to stop this unhealthy practice.
5. Separate your work from the rest.
If you want to achieve the ultimate result with the job that you are doing, you probably mobilize all your time and energy for this purpose.
It may be hard, but you need to realize that work is to be done in working hours, and the rest of the time is meant for other activities, and it is this way for a reason.
A healthy perfectionist sees their performance in life as a whole, and not in just one aspect (for example, job). This is why such a person sees the importance of the “time diet” – when you spend your time in a balanced way which helps you feel satisfied with your life, instead of beating oneself up and feeling miserable about “underperforming”.
6. Motivate yourself to be happy.
If you find your perfectionism unhealthy but are still reluctant about changing your attitude toward a healthier direction, here is one final piece of food for thought. All of the aforementioned advice about healthy perfectionism is aimed solely at making you a happier kind of person, the one that enjoys oneself.
It is true that perfectionists tend to perform better, even on tests where nothing actually depends on the result.
But researches have shown that overall happiness also influences the performance in a good way. This means that a happy perfectionist is much more likely to perform better than an unhappy one. This should motivate you to apply your perfectionism on eliminating the negative and unhealthy aspects of your mindset and lifestyle – simply in order to perform even better.
We live in a tough world where being the best at what you are doing is extremely valued. At school and at work – we are always monitored, quality-assessed, and compared. Under such circumstances, it is easy to evolve into an impression-obsessed result junkie, and it is important to preserve the pleasure of having the job well done for yourself, and not to live up to someone else’s expectations. So, consider taking our tips to remain a healthy perfectionist at all times.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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