‘Perfectionism rarely begets perfection, or satisfaction – only disappointment.’ – Ryan Holiday
Aiming for perfection is like aiming for something impossible. In life, perfection rarely, if ever, happens. First of all, a perfect state is not definite; the goalposts are always moving!
What may be perfect for you today, may no longer be perfect tomorrow or the day after. And what looks perfect to you may look mediocre to others. In a nutshell, perfection is practically impossible.
However, aiming or striving for excellence is a different matter altogether. In your mind, perfect doesn’t exist, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do your best.
You’re thinking positively, and the good thing is that when you think like this, you know you can always do better, and you can always raise the bar. You may not know what the upper limit is, but you’ll keep pushing towards that because that’s what you do when you strive for excellence! With perfectionism, you’re setting the bar too high by default. So, when you don’t achieve it you feel bad, you feel demoralized, and you feel like the world is crashing down on you.
Trying to be perfect is an impossibly tall order. What is even worse is that you are unknowingly setting yourself up for failure many times over. No matter how many times you try, you’re climbing up a steep and slippery slope with no end in sight!
Here are a few ways you can overcome perfectionism and instead do your very best to become excellent at what you do:
- Focus on what really matters
When you strive for perfection, you make your goals so unrealistic that no one can ever achieve it. No matter how many times you try, you are never going to be satisfied with the results. Think of it like this – if you’re trying to launch an online business and you want it to be perfect, do you think you’d ever get your website launched?
You’d be so focused on perfecting every little detail that nothing will ever get done. If you’re paying someone else to build your site, then you’ll never be happy with their work – you’ll be basically nit-picking your way to failure.
If you want to succeed, then you are going to have to launch your business whether you think it’s ready or not. You should have a plan in place, a feasible timeline of when your business should launch.
Once your business is live, you can just work on the changes and improvements as you go along. At least, you got your business launched, and you didn’t fail big time since you weren’t focused on making it perfect!
2. Look at things from another angle
If you find it hard to get over your perfectionism, then try to think of what’s going to happen if you don’t achieve your goals. Are you going to be happy with yourself? Are you going to be rewarding yourself? I think not.
Think of another, more realistic goal and divide it into several milestones. When you achieve the first milestone, think of how you can achieve the next milestone, and so on. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as your milestones are met. Look at how much progress you’re making when you look at things from another angle!
3. Get your critical, inner voice under control
When you’re aiming to be perfect at something, you can quite literally hear a nagging voice at the back of your head. You’ll hear it say many negative things about what you’re doing.
For instance, it may tell you that you’ve got to do things perfectly otherwise no one’s going to like you anymore, everyone’s going to hate you. Or, if you don’t do your task perfectly, then someone’s going to take over your spot, and you’ll no longer be the brightest and most popular person in your organization!
When your inner voice sprouts all this negative nonsense, you’ve got to stop listening! Otherwise, you could end up stressed, anxious, nervous, and even depressed. Deep down you know you can never be perfect, so why would you listen to your inner critic?
Think positive thoughts, think of approaching things one at a time, and do your best each time. Trust me, you’ll end up much happier with this kind of thinking, and you’ll be motivating yourself to put one foot in front of the other
4. Reward yourself for every little win and achievement
Think positively – thanks to your efforts, you’re now closer to reaching your goals!
5. Focus on doing some positive action
When you get so hung up on trying to be perfect, you end up not doing anything at all. This is what’s known as analysis paralysis.‟ You’re analyzing every little thing. You’re constantly fretting about small details which in the long run won’t really make an impact on your goals.
For instance, if we go back to the online business example, if you constantly worry about the font faces, the font sizes, the colors, the background images, the size of the logo, and stuff like that, then it doesn’t really bring you closer to launching your business, does it?
Who knows maybe tomorrow you’d think a different color would look good with that new background photo you just found today. You’d totally end up undoing all the work you’ve done the previous day!
When you focus on doing some positive action, you’re pushing yourself to move forward. As long as you do something that brings you closer to achieving your dreams, that’s a positive thing right there. You can always improve later on, but the point is that you’re at least doing something and you’re not stuck in overthinking mode.