I am a perfectionist in every aspect of the word. I’m the perfect example of a perfectionist. I never liked doing anything unless I could do it perfectly. I wouldn’t take on a task that I didn’t know how to complete to perfection. I would avoid trying new things because I knew I would not be able to do them perfectly. I allowed my high standards to hold me back from acting on my dreams.
Because of this, I accomplished very little. My standards of perfection held me back from working on my goals. I knew I wouldn’t be able to create perfect results right away and so I simply didn’t do things. I didn’t take any risks at all. I convinced myself that it was better to wait until I knew I could do it perfectly than it was to try and fail.
This mentality caused me to waste a lot of my time.
It even kept me from doing daily chores around the house. I would stare at a pile of dirty dishes and be dissuaded from cleaning them because to do them perfectly, it would take a lot of work. My carpets were filthy because if I was going to vacuum, I was going to do a perfect job, and that would take a lot of time. Maybe it was the perfectionist in me that kept me from doing these things or maybe it was the hard work itself. Either way, my standard of perfection kept me from doing anything that required hard work, and shying away from hard work became a habit.
Having high standards is great, it means we won’t accept things that aren’t good enough for us and it pushes us to strive for what we deserve. It’s good to maintain those standards in all aspects of life, too often we settle for less than we deserve and become dissatisfied with ourselves. But when we allow perfectionism to hold us back from acting on our dreams, it starts to show its disadvantages.
Being a perfectionist can prevent you from putting in work on things because of how high your standards are; you wouldn’t want to turn out a product that is less than perfect, would you? This is how being a perfectionist can work against you.
Perfectionism can be a hindrance.
As a perfectionist, it’s hard to accept that something we’ve created is less than perfect. Oftentimes, we will wait until we are certain that we can do something perfectly before we act on it. This has a reverse effect on what we produce. It holds us back from creating something perfect because it keeps us from creating anything at all. Waiting until you know something is going to be perfect before doing anything about it is not how you achieve perfection.
You should never wait until you know something is going to be perfect before you act on it. You need to work at it until it becomes perfect. You’re not going to produce perfect results the first time around. Perfection takes a lot of work. You don’t wait for perfection, you pursue it. You work and work and work, you hone your skills, you produce imperfect results again and again, slowly inching your way to perfection.
You must be willing to produce imperfect results and not be discouraged by them.
You can’t expect to produce gold in all your work. Much of what you create will be far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. You’re honing your skills. You’re ironing out the kinks and sifting through the poor material and the imperfect work. These are prerequisites to achieving perfection.
It’s not all going to be gold, you’ll learn that early on. It’s when you keep digging, when you keep chipping away at the rock, piece by piece, that’s when you strike gold. You’ve got to sift through the rubble. You’ll never strike gold if you don’t start digging and you’ll never strike gold if you stop. Keep digging until you find what you’re looking for.
Perfection is not something that just happens, it’s something that is achieved. You’ll never achieve anything by sitting around and waiting for it, you’ve got to make it happen for yourself. Prove that you’re worthy of perfection by putting in the work and suffering through the failures. You must work to earn your achievements. Just knowing that you are a perfectionist is not enough to achieve perfection. You’ve got to earn it.
Holding a standard of perfection can prove to be limiting.
You’ll have to change the way you look at things to some degree. You’ll have to see perfection more as a reward and less as a necessity. Don’t give up your high level of standards, but you must allow yourself to produce poor results. You must allow yourself to fail. Keep the idea in your head that you are going to do great things, but accept that you’re not going to be able to create perfect results every time. If you truly have high standards of perfection, you should be willing to produce garbage to get to that level.
You will find that the more time and effort you put into your creations, the closer to perfection your creations will become. That’s how you perfect something. Repetition. Failure. Persistence. That is the way to achieve perfection. Sitting around and waiting for the perfect moment is not effective at all. That perfect moment is not coming. You will wind up waiting forever and you won’t have even tried.
The more you’re willing to fail, the closer to success you will get.
At the very least, you’ve got to put in some effort. You’ve got to try. Keep those standards of perfection, but don’t let them hold you back from trying. Don’t wait until you know it’s going to be perfect. Work at it until becomes perfect. Don’t wait, work. Make it perfect. Work and work and work until you become a master. It’s the masters who can create perfect results, and the masters only become masterful by working at it and by being willing to produce imperfect results. You become a master not by waiting, but by working.
Being a perfectionist could prove to be either a huge leg up or a massive weight that holds you down. How you allow it to affect your life is entirely up to you. Are you going to let your high standards prevent you from acting on your dreams? Or will you use your high standards to perfect your skills until you become a master? The choice is yours.