The Perfectionist Mentality

About a month ago I was speaking at a virtual conference and I made the comment that perfectionism creates pressure which in turn affects productivity.

A lot of people agreed with this statement and it seemed to be widely accepted that many people suffer from what I call the “perfectionism mentality.”

This mentality means that we feel as though things must be perfect before being implemented. This can take the face of a business venture or even a simple decision regarding a family matter. Either way, we are placing unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect.

The fact is- no one is perfect and the sooner you realize this, the happier and less stressed you will be. You cannot go through life being against yourself. And if you are a perfectionist, then basically you are against yourself because you are not allowing yourself to grow, expand, and multiply. Instead, you are preventing yourself from achieving great things all because you think it has to be “perfect.”

I can assure you that you are not alone.

According to psychologist Hamachek, there are two types of a perfectionist: normal perfectionists and neurotic perfectionists. Can you identify which one you are? Essentially, normal perfectionists pursue perfection without compromising their self-esteem. On the other hand, neurotic perfectionists strive for unrealistic goals and feel dissatisfied when they cannot reach them.

The key is that when you desire to be perfect you fear imperfection. Also, you feel that people will only like you if you are in fact- perfect. Therefore, being perfect creates a false sense of confidence that is not healthy for your overall sanity. Also, perfectionists tend to view mistakes as a sign of personal defects instead of an opportunity to work harder.

Finally, the fear of failure resonates deeply with people who suffer from the perfectionism mentality. They feel as though being perfect is more of a burden than anything else.

My challenge to you is- if you or someone you know suffers from the perfectionism mentality- then start to self-reflect on when you feel as though you must be perfect and what situations challenge you to think this way.