This article was inspired by a conversation between Ronsley Vaz and Tony Nash on the Bond Appetit Podcast.
Everyone feels the pressure to be perfect. Perfectionism is a common theme in many of our lives and is exceptionally hard to break. Confession time: how many of us have listed ‘perfectionism’ as a weakness on our resumes? Because why would we want to strive for anything less than perfect? If we all did everything half-assed, the world would be in an even sorrier state. But perfectionism can be a fast-track to exhaustion and unhappiness, damaging self-esteem and creating unnecessary disappointment along the way.
So, in a world that expects the best, how do we take the pressure off?
A perfectionist will continually and relentlessly strive for standards that, to others, might seem unreasonable and impossibly high. A perfectionist will also judge their own and other’s capability on whether they achieve them or not. When mistakes occur and the target is not achieved, they consider this a catastrophe and a result of their own shortcomings. This makes it hard for a perfectionist to delegate tasks because they fear that they ‘won’t be done properly’. Being unable to share the workload, whether at the office or home, means the perfectionist will burn out even faster.
Often, perfectionism stems from a fear of failure, rejection, and feeling like you’re just not good enough. This style of thinking can become debilitating to even the strongest of people, causing them to question every move they make. If this is sounding like you, don’t despair. Perfectionism can be a useful facet of someone’s personality, as long as you recognise when it’s going too far.
If you think your standards might be a little too high or you’re noticing you’ve become harsher in your appraisal of yourself and others, take a step back and consider whether you’re putting too much pressure on. If you are, then repeat after me: Surrender. Surrender to life and the current moment instead of trying to control it.
You cannot micromanage your way through every situation you’re in because when things inevitably go wrong, you’ll just experience disappointment much harder. Start developing a more realistic standard of living, as well as the ability to forgive yourself and others, and relax into that new standard. Stop fixating on what you should do and instead focus on what you are doing. By putting all your effort and focus into the present moment, you’ll get better results and feel happier for it.
Striving for success is healthy, obsessing over it to the point of madness is not. You will never be completely perfect, and that’s okay. To quote Brene Brown, author of the inspiring book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, ‘Perfectionism is self destructive simply because there's no such thing as perfect.
Perfection is an unattainable goal. Next time you’re feeling pangs of perfectionism, remember that quote, and surrender to the moment instead of trying to control it.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.