Perfectionism as a Procrastination Problem (And How to Deal with It) 41

Perfectionism as a Procrastination Problem (And How to Deal with It) - lidiya k

This post is part of my eBook How to Kill Procrastination One Excuse at a Time.

If you’re procrastinating on something, then you’re most probably coming up with some kind of excuses as to why you don’t need to take action right away.

And if you take a close look at them, you’ll understand the main reason why you procrastinate, can then find out what underlying motive causes it, and can do something about it.

Some people think that now’s not the best time to start a project, or that they need to do this or that in order to actually begin, or to wait for something to change so that the situation can be perfect.

If that sounds familiar, then you’re a bit of a perfectionist.

Not the positive version, where you’d always want to improve yourself and thus get closer to your goals and dream bigger, but the negative one. Where you’re using perfectionism as an excuse not to get things done in the present moment, think the conditions will be better later or that you’ll be better prepared and it will be easier and smarter to take action then.

And you procrastinate.

The Problem with Perfectionism Explained

This too is connected to fearing that you might fail, but this time it’s even worse. Everything may seem fine, but you doubt your abilities and think you won’t succeed. And if you can’t complete the task perfectly, then there’s no point in doing it at all.

Sadly, after such self-doubt you feel even worse about yourself, are disappointed and lower your self-esteem. That prevents you from taking action when a future opportunity presents itself to you.

This problem comes in different forms:

Waiting for the right moment.

I know people who not only procrastinate on working on something they care about, but a lifetime isn’t enough for them to get moving.

So much potential has been wasted and goals weren’t achieved simply because of that.

If you fall into the trap of waiting for the right time to act upon your goals or just start a new project or take up a hobby, life will become a waiting room and you may never get out of it.

Later becomes never. Put things off for next week, and you’ll find yourself having forgotten about the whole thing after a month or two.

But the desire deep within won’t be dead. Even if it’s a little daily task you’ve procrastinated on, it’s a key part of the big picture. And without such elements, your overall success in life won’t be possible.

Waiting for the perfect conditions.

Your Inner Leader: How are You Developing You?

In this case, the person would be expecting or hoping for things to be better after some time. But, in reality, it’s finding comfort in this excuse and even blaming other people and life itself for not giving you the best conditions.

It’s easier to just let things be this way, without the need for you to take any action in the present. You feel good knowing you may try again in the near future.

Unfortunately, that rarely ends well.

Waiting for yourself to be ready.

Preparation can be a bad thing sometimes, as it turns into overthinking.

‘Not being ready’ is another excuse procrastinators use and it lets them put things off for later when they will be a better version of themselves, more experienced, more confident and better prepared.

But all this takes time, dedication and effort. And people don’t usually invest such finite resources without having a strong reason behind it.

All this waiting leads to procrastination, to wasting your time right now. It also results in missed opportunities.

Most of the times, the answer to all these is to just act now.

But let’s see what the solution is:

The Solution for Each of These Perfectionism Mindsets

1. Now is the perfect time.

Any other moment other than this one will be later, often too late.

So instead of wishing for the next one to offer you more opportunities, work with what you’ve got and make the best of it.

Life isn’t about ideas, it’s about acting upon at least one of them and turning it into reality.

You can change the course of your life right now by catching this brief moment and making it last forever.

By experiencing it, being aware of it and appreciating it. By being right here, right now, and realizing it’s the best place to be and that you don’t need anything else.

Now is where you’re supposed to be and thinking about the past or future prevents you from living this moment, which is the only thing you truly have.

If you can’t live this one, you’ll miss out on many more. And having in mind that life is made of moments like that, you don’t live at all.

But if you take control and focus on your current activity, on the people around you, on how you feel right now, if you look around and breathe deeply, you might just feel like the happiest person in the world.

And no one is able to take that from you. Because this moment is your present.

This moment is yours and no other will be more perfect. So take action.

2. Don’t rely on outer factors.

You must take responsibility for anything that happens or doesn’t happen in your life. It’s what purpose- and action-oriented individuals are doing all the time. It becomes you mindset after you practice this way of thinking for some time.

Relying on other people to give you support or advice isn’t necessary. You’re more than enough and have all it takes to get things done.

And waiting for life to bring you the perfect conditions is ridiculous. As perfection is subjective, if you think about it. What looks bad to you may be ideal for someone else who sees things differently.

So try to expand your horizons, be more open-minded and focus on how perfect things are already, instead of waiting for them to improve.

3. You’re ready.

Be more confident in yourself. Breathe deeply and admit your past successes, the things you’re good at. Also, keep in mind that you can only get better from here on. But for now, be initiative, take action, do something to get things done.

Once you ponder these ideas and develop them as your habits on a mental level, perfectionism won’t be an issue anymore.

Over to you now. How do you manage the perfectionist in you, and what can you do about understanding perfectionism today and stop using it as an excuse to procrastinate?

Get The Lifestyle Designer's Digest
Directly into your inbox every Monday.
Previous ArticleNext Article

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common 4

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common

Getting rich is something everyone dreams about.

For those facing financial hardships, getting rich seems the only way out to tide over shortage of money. For the bourgeoisie – the working class – getting rich conjures up visions of stuff they want to buy for luxury or higher social status. Millionaires also wish to get rich: they want to become billionaires and enter Forbes List of the world’s wealthiest people.

Unless you inherit a fortune or get lucky at lottery or sweepstakes, getting rich can be quite tough.

Yet, there are countless rags-to-riches stories around the world. Enterprises such as Amazon, KFC, Facebook or SpaceX have become runaway successes within a short span. The reason: their founders have several things in common, which is rare among other people.

Here we look at various traits that the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs have in common.

The Common Traits of The World’s Richest People

The Common Traits of The World's Richest People

1. Serving People.

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it,” said John D. Rockefeller, who laid the foundation stone for America’s giant petroleum industry and his own enterprise, Standard Oil. The same adage holds good today.

Facebook, for example, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin to allow Harvard University students to share profiles and pictures

There are countless such examples of ordinary people striking rich. However, they share one thing in common: serving people. The main objective of launching these enterprises was to make life easier or enjoyable for people rather than earning money.

2. Reading Books.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, celebrity TV show host Oprah Winfrey, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Berkshire-Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and several other extremely rich people of the world have one more thing in common: they are avid readers.

Bill Gates reads at least 50 books every year – an average of nearly four and a half books per month.

Elon Musk owes his success at SpaceX, the project to open space tourism to his love for books and the knowledge he gained from them about rocketry. Oprah Winfrey attributes her success to dozens of books, including some 70 top titles she read on her way to success while Warren Buffet spends about 80 percent of his day reading books.

3. Long-Term Financial Strategies.

A report by CNBC states, all wealthy people depend upon long-term financial strategies rather than short-term gains. They utilized their earnings and savings to invest in safe stocks that would assure gains in the long run rather than indulging in risky trading that can offer high returns.

Such financial planning and decisions ensured they do not lose money. Further, they invested money in their enterprises without the hope of immediate returns.

These wealthy people first focused on building a brand, offering value for people to identify with the brand. And later, popularize the brand through word-of-mouth publicity, which is more effective than traditional advertising.

4. Never Say Die.

Yet another common character trait shared by the world’s richest people is, they are not quitters.

Like every other human on Earth, these wealthy folks also witnessed ups and downs in life. Some of these were so overwhelming most ordinary people would have called it quits and gone in search of easier ventures.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Bleckharczyk, founders of Airbnb, the world’s largest hotels and accommodations aggregator were plagued with financial problems.


Heavily encumbered with debts, bankruptcy was staring at these entrepreneurs in the very eye. Yet, they did not budge. They innovated their service that made Airbnb the world leader in its field today.

Another excellent example is Colonel Harland Sanders, whose recipe for fried chicken was rejected as many as 1,009 times before it was accepted. Col. Sanders is the founder of global chain Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.

5. Accepting Criticism.

Most people flee from criticism of any sort. Rather than learning from negative comments arising out of their behavior or work, they take umbrage rather quickly. Yet, they do not bother to amend their behavior or work pattern.

All wealthy people, however, are different. They are willing to be criticized for introducing new ideas or thoughts.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, rightly says that those who will try and do something new must be willing to draw criticism.

Steve Jobs, founder, Apple, Inc. puts it in even stronger words: “If you want to make everyone happy, do not become a leader; sell ice cream instead.”

The success of Amazon and Apple proves their founders were right when it came to accepting criticism.

6. Out of The Box Thinking.

how regular life looks like and why it won't make you happy

Thinking outside of the ‘box’ or a typical mindset is often impossible for most people. Understandably, because everyone draws their mindset from factors and circumstances they are raised and educated in.

This mindset eventually becomes a formidable fetter for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. Generally, most people follow the flock and take professions they falsely believe as best suited for their skills. Others try to follow footsteps of their parents.

The wealthiest people in the world never followed flock or took lucrative professions of their parents.

Mark Zuckerberg’s father was a dentist and mom – a psychiatrist. Bill Gates’ dad was a banker father while his mother was a lawyer.

Despite coming from wealthy families, they chose to follow their passion rather than confine their thinking to the proverbial boxed mindset. Col. Sanders had lost his parents at a young age of six years and had to shoulder responsibilities of his siblings.

Other Examples of What The Wealthiest People Have in Common

As we can see, these qualities or personality traits are common to the world’s richest people. It sets them apart from others. Most of them launched small enterprises with the sole purpose of bettering the lives of people. Their products or services gained popularity because money was never their consideration. Widespread use of their technology, products, and services eventually led them to become wealthy.

These traits are not typical to the US or the western world, as one may mistakenly come to believe. A glance at some richest people in India and elsewhere also reveals, they share the same characteristics with their American counterparts. This amply proves that richest people around the world share something in common, regardless of where they live and flourish.

Another common trait that all rich people share in common is philanthropy.

Since childhood, they believe in giving back to the society and helping the underprivileged. They practiced charity when they were not so rich and continue to donate money for the betterment of the society even after becoming billionaires.

These richest people on the planet never waited to become wealthy. Instead, they were philanthropists since childhood – a trait most other people pathetically lack or try to foist upon themselves to gain popularity.

In Conclusion

It is not easy to become wealthy. Or everyone would become a millionaire. People who do make it to the top have a different way of thinking combined with an undying zest for learning new things and educating themselves.

They do not consider conventional learning at universities as the end of their education. Instead, they try and acquire new skills every day and find ways and means to become better humans rather than focusing on fattening their purses.

The world’s wealthiest people also share one common trait: they are not people pleasers, despite their generosity and willingness to serve the society. Because they know, trying to please everyone will get them nowhere and could mean possible failure.