Is being a perfectionist good for you?


Are you one of life‘s perfectionist?


·       Consider yourself a perfectionist if:


·       You can’t stop thinking about every little mistake you make.


·       You can’t stand being second in anything you do.


·       Any project that you undertake must be absolutely right.


·       You expect the highest standards of other people.


·       You will never ask for help because you feel it is a sign of weakness.


·       You will persist with a task long after other people would have considered the task complete.


·       You are a fault-finding who corrects other people when they are wrong.


·       You are highly aware of other people’s demands and expectations.


·       You are very self-conscious about making mistakes in front of other people and dwell on it afterwards.


Perfectionists will also have a keen eye for detail and push themselves to achieve personal goals, their work will exceed expectations and their ambitions will know no bounds.


Research has indicated that perfectionism can be linked to emotional, physical and relationship problems including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and marital discord.


What people think about perfection

Many perfectionist traits are also linked to successful high achievers due to their high standards and high expectations. Highly successful actress Gwyneth Paltrow is one such perfectionist who has also suffered marital and relationship discord.


However, the strive for perfection has brought about much debate over the years. Consider these three very different outlooks:


·       “Perfection is the enemy of success. “ Winston Churchill.


·       “When you aim for perfection you discover that it is a moving target. “ Geoffrey F Fisher


·       “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralising”. Harriet Bralker


Each of these quotations indicates that true perfection does not exist.


In the first one Churchill believes that time will be wasted by striving for perfection, whilst in the second quotation Fisher suggests that perfection is always just out of reach.


The final quotation by Bralker confirms this by suggesting that the pursuit of absolute perfection is demoralising, (perhaps because it is unattainable) and excellence should be good enough.


As indicated earlier, striving for perfection which is always just out of reach can cause mental illness. There is wide research that suggests that both perfectionism and mental health issues have been on the increase over the last 20 years. This has coincided with the rise of social media where everyone lives out their perfect lives, with their perfect families and their perfect careers in their own perfect world.


Such access to these social media examples put enormous pressure on the individual with perfectionist tendencies and we will examine this in a future blog


Remember, Mayfair cares