Are you a perfectionist? Do you exhaust yourself trying to make sure every single detail has been reviewed and meets the highest standards? Perfectionists are often dissatisfied with any results short of perfection. These people are often high achievers. They are also most likely overwhelmed and suffer from anxiety.
I think the urge to be perfect comes from a desire to please or a desire to be the best. It may be a result of your childhood or maybe it’s just part of your personality. Chances are that it is a combination of several factors. Wherever the desire came from, the urge to be perfect can hinder your ability to be happy. Most perfectionists are anything but happy. When your standards are unreasonably high, you’re unlikely to have many moments in your life when you’re happy and satisfied.
It’s not easy trying to be perfect all the time, nor is it necessary. The amount of time you spend trying to be perfect could be better spent doing something you actually enjoy. Think about it, if the time that you plan to spend perfecting something doesn’t result in a benefit to you or it’s intended user then is it really worth the extra effort? Does the extra time you put into it make you feel happy or stressed? Has it taken longer to finish the task and put you behind on completing your other tasks? Are you now stressed out and overwhelmed with the thought of completing your next tasks? For some, this results in them putting off starting the next task because they know how long it will take to get it just right. And the reality is that it should have been started 2 days ago but they were busy perfecting the previous task and couldn’t get started on this one. A cycle like this is never-ending because you can never get caught up because you always take too long to complete your projects.
See how quickly that escalates? Perfection and happiness don’t go together.
Don’t believe me, see some of my reasons below. As you read them ask yourself, do any of these sound familiar?
The need for perfection guarantees failure.
The need for perfection is a losing game. Perfection can never be attained, so by choosing perfection, you’ve chosen to fail. Happiness is more challenging to achieve when you’re failing at everything you do.
Perfection creates anxiety.
When you feel the need to be perfect, chances are pretty high that you also feel anxious a lot of the time. And no matter how hard you try, you can’t be perfect at everything all the time. So that means that while you are being perfect at one thing, everything else is less than perfect. Chances are you have also realized that and feel some anxiety about the other things as well. You worry all the time when perfection is the only acceptable result.
Perfection is the enemy of progress.
Perfection gets in the way of making meaningful progress. Perfection is tedious and slow. When you aren’t making progress in your life, you’re not going to be happy.
Perfection forces you to use your time inappropriately.
When you try to be perfect, you spend too much time on things that just don’t matter very much. There are plenty of things in life that require results far beneath perfection. Identify the most important aspects of your projects and focus on making sure those are right. Avoid spending the time to be perfect when it just doesn’t make any sense.
Perfectionists are more likely to procrastinate.
Given that the drive for perfection creates anxiety and consumes a lot of time, perfectionists are more likely to procrastinate than the average person. It’s not easy to get started when you know that your results have to be perfect.
Perfectionists notice what’s wrong, rather than what’s right.
Perfectionists only recognize what’s wrong. They pick up on everything that isn’t perfect. They rarely acknowledge what’s good. Perfectionists quickly forget their successes and fixate on their failures, making them unhappy with their work, home life, and themselves.
It’s challenging to complete anything because there’s always something you could improve.
Whether you’re working on a project for work or building a deck on your house, it’s a struggle to complete anything and move on. A perfectionist will always find a way to make it even better. Having a lot of unfinished tasks hanging over your head is stressful and dissatisfying.
Perfectionists expect others to have equally high standards.
Perfectionists are hard to be around. They are often critical of others and consequently, are often lonely. They have relationship challenges. Don’t be the person that everyone avoids because you expect everyone to be perfect at life. Loneliness and a lack of social support prohibit happiness.
While it’s important to give crucial tasks the necessary attention, spending too much time and attention on something is a waste of your time and mental energy.
What are you missing out on by trying to be perfect? You are missing out on life. You are missing time doing the activities that you enjoy because you are focused on the wrong things. These tendencies are blocking the happiness you deserve. Let some of the details go and experience a life you truly enjoy.