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Why Perfectionism Is Bad For Your Life and How To Overcome It?

Creativity doesn’t come with the final clean shot.

Dr. Paras
Dr. Paras
Jun 22, 2023
Why Perfectionism Is Bad For Your Life and How To Overcome It?

On the last day of the  retreat, a few questions about ‘being perfect’ were asked to the candidates attending it. Here are a few very surprising excerpts from there.

        1.Radhika, a college passout, was asked how she feels about being perfect. Here is what she shares“I always wanted to be perfect and be a top scorer in my class. However, it led to a lot of stress and I missed out on a number of other activities which I could have at my age. 

Javed, who studied a lot less than me and was involved in college fests, sports and music came first instead.

He never aspired to be perfect and enjoyed college days to a great extent, whereas I missed on those and stood at the second position.

       2.Akram, an IT professional, went through a broken relationship and asked how perfect he wanted to be. He says I wanted a perfect relationship and wanted my partner to understand me to the core. 

However, I failed to realize that relations can never be perfect; it’s about how you complete one another with your imperfections. 

With too much expectation from my partner I lost her. 

She was giving her best in this and yet I always wanted more from her to ensure a perfect partnership.”

     3.Avinash, a start-up entrepreneur, shares a different thought about being perfect. Here it is I always strive for perfection right from childhood. I have been a school and college topper and now in my own start-up I try being perfect. Well, it helps me be productive, but makes me a bad boss to my colleagues. 

But, I have seen that the employees dwell under a lot of pressure because of my drive towards perfectionism. A lot of them were reluctant to share their concerns and gradually their efficiency was galling. 

I have seen a 40% attrition in my firm and learnt that perfectionism discourages you from being natural and snatches away your productivity.

If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.”
― Leo Tolstoy

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” Vince Lombardi

Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.” Salvador Dali

What do these quotes remind you? It’s one more time reminding you to not burn yourself out striving for perfection. Perfection is a myth and it can never be achieved. It is paralyzing and self-sabotaging. By trying to be perfect, you kill the naturality and beauty of growing and learning. What you can do is by striving for perfection, you can reach close to excellence. It can get you high standards and propel you towards exceptional work. However, that illusion of being perfect should not bind you and make you feel stressed out. 

The effects of perfectionism

Let’s see why perfectionism is so bad for your life with some smart and grounded ways to overcome it.

         1.Perfectionism can lead to depression

It's not a surprise that with too much stress to be perfect, you will certainly go overboard with your actions and thoughts. When that fails, it gets hard for you to accept the outcome which has not gone as per your expectation. You see yourself at a position and set high bars for you. With not hitting that standard, you tend to procrastinate and feel mentally trapped.

         2.You get into denial

With perfectionism, you find it hard to accept the fact that you too can make mistakes. You fail to realize that it’s okay to be imperfect. With trying to be perfect all the time, you lose the connection with others. You do not see the beauty of natural things around. You might be embarrassed to not live up to the expectations of yourself and others. You feel ashamed to reveal your flaws.

       3.You no longer remain genuine

Perfectionism is self-detrimental. You do not remain comfortable in your own skin and always try to hide your mistakes. You tend to forget that you are human and hence lost out on being genuine. Every successful person has gone through their share of struggles, way more than others. It’s okay to struggle and feel at a loss of hope. There might be situations where you might feel it’s the end of the world. That’s how every successful person feels at times in their lives. And do remember, success doesn’t mean perfection. Even the best of spacecrafts, all designed to be perfect, failed. Hence, success comes with perseverance, excellence, drive and passion, with its own set of imperfections.

       4.Shuns your creativity

Creativity doesn’t come with the final clean shot. On the other hand, it is messy and goes through trials. If you aim for perfection, you will not be comfortable with the messiness. 

       5.Pushes you away from others

With being perfect, you are always at an edge. You tend to be judgmental about people, criticizing them. The reason for this is being “perfect” is your only standard you see in yourself and others. Not only does it push you away from others, but also often distances you from yourself.

        6 .Loss of self-love

As you endeavor for perfection, you lose touch with yourself. You always aim to see yourself at a top standard. But growth comes with imperfection. In the process, you need to love yourself and be compassionate. However, when you tend to be perfect, you tend to punish yourself when you don’t hit that standard. Hence, neither you stay empathetic with yourself, nor do you learn to love yourself.

How to beat perfectionism

After seeing a few The Dangers of Perfectionism (though there are a lot more to the list), let’s now see about how to overcome these. It’s important to know how to break this pattern of being perfect and be excellent in any of the endeavors to be successful.

        1.Learn to say No

In order to prove yourself to be successful, you might tend to say “Yes” to every project that comes by. To satisfy your seniors, friends and family, you accept every single task and responsibility. It’s time to say No, to actually give to yourself. True, you might lose on some important projects or not get the financial outcome you are expecting. But what’s the point in accruing those when you feel burdened. If your conscience doesn’t support this, it’s okay to say No and let go. There will be a time where you will feel satisfied and give your best efforts, success will follow suit.

         2.Stop being overactive

With the attempt to be perfect all the time, you tend to remain overactive. Over functioning is good and productive, but you need a break at times. Your mind, body and heart need some rest when you function at more than optimal every time. Do not shy away from asking for help. When needed, take that much-required break. This will not stop you from being successful, rather will fuel more energy before you are back with a bang.

         3.Be vulnerable

Learn to embrace imperfections in life. Be ready to go through the transformation you need to undergo in order to overcome the obsession of perfection. Let’s say, you are giving a talk in a meeting or a show. It’s natural to forget your lines and that is okay. Let it be that way. Improvise using your creativity and create your own lines. 

         4.Be transparent and accept

Accept your flaws and be transparent. No need to hide anything. Be raw and be human. Open yourself up for any surprises and challenges. Once you learn to face anything that comes by in life, you will overcome the attempt to be perfect all the time.

There are various other ways to overcome the obsession. If you really want to be successful and be connected to yourself and others, a certified life coach can help you truly transform. Dr Paras is an acclaimed name, known for transforming a number of individuals in breaking off a lot of emotional setbacks and being truly successful. He has customized a number of courses to set you on the right path, to learn the true life values and experiences. The life coaching is customized to address your specific needs to lead you for personal and professional growth. These identify your deepest desires, goals and ambitions and create an actionable plan for you. Check out Matrrix to know more about the course.

Dr. Paras


Dr. Paras

ICF-certified (Master Certified Coach) and ESIA -Coach Supervisor Dr. Paras, and Co-Founder of Dr Paras Wellness Pvt. Ltd. with brand Matrrix has been focused towards initiating change and transformation in people. As a certified Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and Mindfulness Coach, he brings a fresh approach towards learning the psychology of one’s thinking and behavior patterns. In his 18 years’ journey, he has trained, coached and mentored over 1.5 lakh individuals while certifying over 240 coaches. The leadership development programs of Matrrix have honed over hundreds of professionals while resolving workplace issues and ensuring higher ROI for firms.

Dr. Paras uses the power of coaching, counseling and positive psychology frameworks to resolve organizational issues, manage internal conflicts, and accelerate business growth. His programs for professional certifications in NLP, Mindfulness, Counseling, Coaching, and more have solidified his name as a transformation coach. Dr. Paras is also the founder of the Iinner Universe Education Foundation that runs Tava-Mitram (not-for-profit) to improve emotional wellness. He is also an avid blogger and social media enthusiast who loves keeping in touch with his international audience.

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