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Do you strive for perfection? Here are 5 ways in which it might be holding you back

Published on:19 October 2020, 15:05pm IST
Being a perfectionist can actually be stopping you from achieving success. Here’s how perfectionism can be harmful.
Grace Bains
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Seeking perfection in everything can be bad for your mental health. Image courtesy: Pixabay

Some people expect high standards and work towards building a life without any flaws. Often called ‘perfectionists’, they refuse to accept anything that is short of perfection. This is a personality trait which reflects in the professional as well as personal space. From hustling and doing overtime at the workplace to being the friend who is the glue of the gang—a perfectionist wants everything to be at its absolute best and is ready to work towards it.

Sounds like an ideal characteristic to have, doesn’t it? But, think about it again. The pursuit of perfection is a tough one simply because there is no such thing as ‘perfect’. A perfectionist, however, doesn’t comprehend this and carries the emotional burden of striving for perfection. 

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In fact, a study published in Personality and Individual Differences noted that those who are perfectionists experience higher levels of anxiety and suffer from poor mental well-being.

If you identify yourself as a perfectionist, here are five ways in which it might be holding you back from growth:

1. Being a perfectionist doesn’t let you learn from failure

Perfectionists don’t take into account the possibility of failure. As a perfectionist, you don’t want to confront the reality that there might be some hiccups on your way to success.

perfectionist
It’s hard to learn from failures for a perfectionist. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

No one wants to fail but when a perfectionist fails, they find it doubly tough to deal with the emotions associated with it and find ways to get back on track. Failure isn’t the most pleasant event in one’s life. We might feel extremely dejected immediately after it but over time, it helps us understand how to improve ourselves. When we’re able to understand the reason behind our failure, we work on our shortcomings which increases our chances of success along with building resilience.

2. Being a perfectionist doesn’t let you take risks

Those who are perfectionists tend to play it safe. When you refuse to take any chances in life, you are left without any real world exposure and reduced opportunities. Due to your fear of the unknown, you feel more comfortable right where you are which leads to you becoming stagnant in terms of growth. Those who take risks which are calculated open themselves up to multiple possibilities. It allows them to put themselves out there and seek out success.

3. Being a perfectionist doesn’t prepare you to deal with the unexpected

There’s no doubt that success comes to those who work hard. However, you can’t deny that some unforeseen circumstances can turn into obstacles stopping you from reaching your goals. Hence, those who work hard must also have the ability to pivot and change according to the situation. Being a perfectionist means you’re averse to that very change which can be make-or-break for you.

4. Being a perfectionist can leave you feeling overwhelmed

Always trying to be the best and setting yourself up to live a life where you make no mistakes can turn into an enormous emotional burden. The possibility of ever going wrong can leave you feeling anxious. This eventually chips away at your confidence as you double-check your effort at all times. Constantly feeling overwhelmed can also hurt your productivity and the quality of your work. Give yourself a chance to make mistakes and learn from them.

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A perfectionist is always overwhelmed by his/her chain of thoughts. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Being a perfectionist stops you from growing

The thing about being ‘perfect’ is that it leaves no room for improvement. When you’re not looking at making an effort to improve and stick to the status quo, you’re not allowing yourself to grow. All the things that a perfectionist avoids, from failure to change, are integral aspects of life that shape a person. Accepting them and developing the ability to deal with them can actually enable one to pave the path to success.

So, don’t look at perfection. Instead, look at growth and you’ll find everything will become perfect itself.

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Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.