Earlier this week, I attended a 4 hour workshop on perfectionism (led by Dr Aziz Gazipura). I want to share some lessons I learned.
Here they are, briefly:
- Perfectionism is a resistance strategy to avoid pain.
- The higher the perfectionism, the lower the refresh rate on trying new things.
- Perfectionism has a list of demands for you.
- Something can be perfected only after it is created.
Perfectionism is a resistance strategy to avoid pain
Just reading this makes me feel better. When we are perfectionistic, we have a tight grip over reality. We want to avoid some painful outcome. Have you noticed your body when you are perfectionistic? For me, it looks like my gut is clenched with a heavy-duty cable.
I invite you to think of the last time you were perfectionistic, and see if you can tune into the outcome you were afraid of. What's the worst that could happen if you are not perfect?
The higher the perfectionism, the lower the refresh rate on trying new things
Ironically, when we are perfectionistic, we get less done. That’s because perfectionism occupies our minds. It takes up mental bandwidth. As a result, we don’t truly do the things that will improve our projects. We merely fixate on unnecessary improvements.
I invite you to think: what else could I do with my time if I didn’t have to be perfect?
Perfectionism has a list of demands for you
I should grow very fast on Instagram. At least 300 followers a day.
I should be able to handle any social situation with ease.
I should always be emotionally centered and calm.
No one should dislike or hate me.
These are some of the demands I’ve placed on myself. Do you notice the train of “shoulds”? Perfectionism comes along with a set of demands. And most of them are unrealistic. What are the demands you place on yourself?
Something can be perfected only after it is created
This one is a bit of a fun brain teaser I learned from Brendon Burchard - can something be perfected without being created? If not, then that must mean we have to put something out there first, imperfectly, if we truly want perfection?
I hope you benefited from some of my reflections. Feel free to reply with your thoughts. Are you a perfectionist? Has perfectionism cost you some stress or pain? I’d love to hear.