I am a perfectionist. I wonder sometimes why everyone isn’t. I know plenty of other perfectionists because similar personalities tend to find each other and recognise each other.
Recently though, I’ve been wondering whether it wouldn’t be nicer not to be a perfectionist. I’ve been reflecting on something that was said to me earlier this week: “You don’t have to ride in the Olympics; just have fun.” Perfectionism tends to squash the fun out of everything. It insists that you do everything to a level higher than you can actually achieve. Sometimes it helps us achieve things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to, but the achievement isn’t always worth the cost. When perfectionism is setting the goals they may not be achievable, which is setting you up to feel that you’ve failed, even though in someone else’s eyes what you’ve achieved may be wonderful.
But maybe you’ve achieved your perfectionist goal – then what? Not much actually. There are no fireworks, applause or presentations from the Queen. Nothing changes and you’ve still spent all of your energy on an unreasonable goal.
So I think it’s time to try to lower my standards. “Good enough never is” might encourage you to achieve excellence, but maybe sometimes good enough is good enough. Perhaps I’ll make a New Year’s resolution to tone down the perfectionism and save it for times when I can benefit from it rather than applying it to everything I meet.