YOU ARE NOT A PERFECTIONIST.
We hear people talk about being perfectionists all of the time.
This is what it sounds like: “If I am going to do something, I am going to give it 100%, or I’m not going to do it at all. I am a perfectionist.”
It’s like during a job interview when you’re asked “What is your greatest weakness?” so you answer with “I care too much about doing a good job. I am a perfectionist.”
Saying you are a perfectionist is not something to brag about. The majority of people that claim to be perfectionists, they aren’t perfectionists:
They are liars.
Trust me, this is coming from a kid that was voted Class Perfectionist in high school. (***Melvindale High, class of 2004 what’s up?!?!)
The whole ‘I am a perfectionist. I always want things to be perfect’ is actually a lie that we are telling ourselves to make us feel better.
Let me explain. Let’s break this down. Let’s look at the definition of a perfectionist:
1. a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection.
This means that a perfectionist will, by definition, at all cost, work tirelessly and efficiently and effectively with discipline and dedication towards the task at hand…and they will do so by refusing to accept anything less than perfection.
That is a true perfectionist by definition.
A true perfectionist doesn’t sit on the couch and watch 6 hours of Netflix when they know there is something more important for them to be doing. Instead they are working with perfection toward their goal.
A true perfectionist doesn’t gossip at the office and tear other people down. Instead they are refusing to accept a standard short of perfection in the way they treat other people.
A true perfectionist reads, studies, and researches with perfection in mind when they are overwhelmed and unsure what to do next.
A true perfectionist wakes up and gets out of bed when the alarm goes off.
A true perfectionist does exactly what they said they were going to do when they made their to-do list.
A true perfectionist is damn near perfect every day in everything they do.
And guess what…I am not a perfectionist and I bet you aren’t either.
Perfect is a trap that often leads us to inaction because we know we will fall short of perfection and we don’t want to face the fact that we aren’t perfect.
We need to stop being concerned with perfection and instead focus on progress.
We need to stop hiding behind the phrase, “I am a perfectionist”
We need to stop and admit what’s really happening is is we are afraid we won't do a good job or we are afraid we will do something wrong.
Stop lying to yourself.
Stop trying to make yourself feel better about your inaction.
Either accept that you don’t work that hard, accept that you are scared of your goals, accept that you don’t know what you are doing, or get your butt off the couch and out of bed and start working towards your goals.
You are not a perfectionist.
You are a human that is going to make mistakes.
You are a human who is not perfect. And that is okay. No one is perfect.
Chase progress, not perfection.
Side note: I do not mean to downplay significance of perfectionism and its impact on mental health.
A quick Wikipedia search also reveals the following: “Perfectionism is a risk factor for obsessive compulsive disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, eating disorders, social anxiety, social phobia, body dysmorphic disorder, workaholism, self-harm, substance abuse, and clinical depression as well as physical problems like chronic stress, and heart disease.”
Perfectionism is not healthy for us. Progress is. Chase progress, eliminate perfection.
You are not a perfectionist. And that is a good thing.
I love you all.
- Phillip Andrew LA