How perfectionism is holding you hostage

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Everyday we have new ideas wandering through our mind. Some of them really creative ones. But, rarely do we attempt to make those ideas a reality. Mostly because a lot of us feel it’s not the perfect one. We let our idea of perfection become a reason behind self-doubt.

The pursuit of perfection and the accolades that it brings can leave you stressed out and dwarf your innovative thinking. Take a look at the side-effects of perfectionism and how it can negatively impact your quality of life and work -

  • Perfectionism is subjective

Something that looks just fine to somebody may look appalling to a perfectionist. Therefore, every time you think about creating something perfect, ask yourself, whose idea of perfection are you clinging on to? Perhaps you’re trying to make something unnecessarily perfect that could do just fine when it’s simple. For example, the most popular websites are the ones that stick to the principle of simplicity. But, in an effort to make something perfect, we often end-up ignoring those essential simple traits that truly make it worthy!

  • A way to masquerade procrastination

Perfectionists want everything to go exactly as planned. They have very little tolerance for deviating from the plan. And because of this kind of thinking they keep waiting for the right resources and the right time to come. They keeping waiting for situations to be favourable. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee if that will ever happen. The only solution is to be resourceful and think of ways to make the most of whatever you have at your disposal; instead of living in a world of fantasies. Waiting for that perfect moment to arrive is nothing, but a classic way to procrastinate. So, in subtle terms, perfectionism is really a translation for procrastination.

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  • Causes stress

Perfectionism is stressful because every time you set your mind to do something, you’re worried about living up to your own expectations. Not somebody else’s. You want the end product to look a certain way. Even one percent deviation from that image is enough to make you feel inadequate, incompetent, and doubtful of your skills. It’s enough to induce that feeling of ‘I don’t have it in me’. Even the whole process of making something is not very enjoyable because you’re stressed out the entire time chasing perfection.

  • Induces ‘The Impostor Syndrome’

Another side effect of being a perfectionist is that even if a person’s efforts are appreciated, he/she may still feel like a fraud. It’s called the impostor syndrome. High-achieving individuals who fail to internalize their own accomplishments experience it the most. Even when everyone else is appreciating them for their work, they feel like an impostor. It happens because subconsciously they feel they haven’t truly delivered good results. Why? Because that result did not match with the ‘perfect’ image with which they started working.

  • Plummets your reservoir of confidence

Just the other day, I was watching an interview of Danica McKellar; an actress and a world-class mathematician, who has to her credit, ‘Chayes–McKellar–Winn theorem’ named after her. She pointed out the fact that it’s mostly girls who give-up math in the middle of their education.

She also pointed out that during her book signings, she gets to meet boys and girls. But the difference between a boy scoring B+ and a girl scoring A- is that the boy will think he’s doing real great academically. But the girl will complain that she’s not good enough, even when her grades are clearly higher.

So, it’s not that you’re not talented enough. It’s about self-doubt crippling your ability to grow because you’re so sucked by this idea of being perfect. This is also the reason that such people end-up giving midway. Or worse, they don’t even get started. This is nothing but lack of confidence, which springs from our self-created fantasies. Anything less than that is simply not acceptable for a perfectionist. Decide for yourself, do you want to be one of those?

  • Slows down learning

Much of the implications associated with perfectionism, is that you try to get thingsright in the very first go. You want to avoid revisions and iterations as much as you can. But, that actually stunts the learning process. Create a product, make editions, do everything in your capacity to make it best. If it gets good reviews, well enough! If it gets bad reviews, then listen to those reviews and make changes according to the feedback. In the process you will go on to learn a great deal of stuff.

Combine all these things and you have the perfect recipe for inactivity, unproductivity, and slacking-off. This is how perfectionism, in so many, is depriving you off of productivity and not letting you express your true potential. If you can resonate with the things above, you might want to tweak your thought process a bit!

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Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and

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