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Perfectionism

The obsession with perfection can be a tool for excellence - or it can be self-limiting.
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Achievement / Perfectionism articles
Perfectionism books

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    He estado pensando acerca de los diferentes tipos de perfeccionismo, después de una discusión que tuve con un superdotado sobreviviente de trauma. Pude distinguir con mayor claridad que algunos aspectos de su perfeccionismo tenían que ver con su experiencia de vivir con altas capacidades y otros estaban relacionados con problemas en su familia de origen.

    Trying to be perfect, comparing yourself to others, fearing that you won’t be good enough or perfect enough… It’s a trap that most of us have been in at some point in our lives.  And it’s incredibly self-limiting and self-sabotaging.  So how do you overcome the trap of perfectionism? Click play on the video down below to find out more…

    I’ve been thinking about varieties of perfectionism since having a discussion with a gifted trauma survivor.  It became clear that some of their perfectionism was an expression of giftedness and some was related to family of origin issues.  Same outcome, different sources.  Does the source of perfectionism matter?  I think it does.  By understanding the differences we can clarify what can be embraced and managed, and what can be healed. Different sources, different strategies.

    “You need to play the notes correctly,” she said in a small voice. “Of course.” I paused. “But is that the music? Many great musicians have said that if you demand that they play all the notes correctly they can’t also make music." ... “I keep hearing ‘No heart!’ ‘No heart!’" Tears came. “What am I supposed to do at this point? Go see the Wizard of Oz and get a heart?” I smiled. “Well, I have a simple solution. Feel free to play in a heartfelt way and the hell with the notes.”

    While it's at times necessary to keep certain emotions out of sight (when we're on the street), it's harmful to try to keep them out of mind (when we are alone). Holding ourselves to the same standards in solitude, denying ourselves the permission to experience unwanted emotions or feel indecent feelings when we are alone, is potentially harmful to our well-being.

    Just Let Go

    The yearning for perfection has its roots in the Garden of Eden, having descended there from Heaven; it blossomed throughout Western Philosophy, first in the shape of Plato's forms, and then in the form of Weber's ideal types. "When Plato wrote that everything on earth has its ideal version in heaven," says Diane Ackerman, "many took what he said literally. But for me the importance of Plato's ideal forms lies not in their truth but in our desire for the flawless."

    Demanding perfection in all areas of your life, from work to home and everywhere in between, may seem like a noble deed -- even one that perhaps we should all strive for. But perfectionism is actually responsible for making many people miserable.

    Perfectionism is often an aspect of being a gifted and multitalented person, and can be an integral strategy in the pursuit of excellence and fuel for high achievement. But being too perfectionistic can make us feel continually dissatisfied, and even hold us back from finishing - or even starting - a project.

    The issue isn’t whether or not being a perfectionist is good or bad: it’s what you decide to be perfectionist about!  Or put it another way: If you’ve always been a perfectionist, go for it!  Just remember, you need to rise to the challenge and be a perfect perfectionist!  We don’t want any imperfect perfectionism! What is a perfect perfectionist?  Someone who knows when to apply 25% perfection, when 50%, when 75% and when the full, all-out 100%!

    By Benedict Carey, The New York Times -- Several recent studies stand as a warning against taking the platitudes of achievement too seriously. The new research focuses on a familiar type, perfectionists, who panic or blow a fuse when things don’t turn out just so.

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