Optimalist versus Perfectionist

Am I a Perfectionist?

Perfectionists believe that making mistakes is unacceptable and often interpret their own mistakes as signs that they are less successful, less lovable, and less worthy.

Isn’t Perfectionism a Good Thing?

Striving to perform up to our standards is a good thing.  However, if we seek perfection we are seeking the impossible and, rather than motivate us, the goal of attaining the impossible is a perfect excuse not to move forward.  Perfectionism can breed procrastination.We may wait and wait to put ourselves forward for fear our actions will show that we are less than perfect. As we wait to put ourselves out there, anxiety builds, we begin to ruminate, and we may even become depressed.

Perfectionism may, in the alternative, compel us to work harder and harder. However, if all of our hard work is in the pursuit of perfection, we are likely to feel many uncomfortable emotions such as frustration and loathe feelings toward our selves.

We may wait and wait to put ourselves forward for fear our actions will show that we are less than perfect. As we wait to put ourselves out there, anxiety builds, we begin to ruminate, and we may even become depressed.

Perfectionism may, in the alternative, compel us to work harder and harder. However, if all of our hard work is in the pursuit of perfection, we are likely to feel many uncomfortable emotions such as frustration, low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression.

If I Lower My Goals from Perfection Don’t I Ensure Less Success?

You can not only be as successful but may even expereince more succeess than you would as a perfectionsit. When we allow ourselves to try and then make mistakes we learn more about what does and does not work.  Becuase failure does not detract from who they believe they are as people, non-perfectionists also recover more quickly from failure and tend, in the long run to produce or create more.

Tal Ben Shahar, in The Pursuit of Perfect, suggests we should be Optimalists. An optimalist develops and holds high standards for their behavior, seeks to become the best version of themselves, strives to perform to the best of their ability, but also acknowledges that they will, at times, make mistakes and that perfection is unattainable.  Optimalists refrain from confusing their achievements and mistakes with who they are as good human beings.

You owe it to yourself to diminsh perfectionism and to live a good, productive life, full of love and learning.

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