PERFECTIONISM IS A FLAW
Some five years back I had a chance to attend a personality development workshop. There were about 25 persons who attended the workshop. There were four reputed academician from different fields. All of them gave speech and lectures giving us lot information, knowledge and motivation. As always I attentively tried to grasp everything.
Then they conducted a personality test in which there were about 30 questions with four options each. Apart from that there were three questions which required answers in about 100 words. I answered the questions as per my understanding and knowledge.
After the test were was over it was time for results. I was bit surprised when they singled out results of two persons in which I was the one of the two. They considered others to be normal. These words made my heart sink as it was a shock to me because that meant I was abnormal! Then one among the four experts proceeded to give the explanation.
She told us that we (i.e. I and there was the other guy sitting adjacent to me) were perfectionist. When I heard those words I didn’t knew whether it was positive compliment or negative one.
She continued, “Look, it is good that you seek perfection in your work. To strive for perfection is a good thing. But have you ever thought that in order to make your work perfect you sacrifice time? Sometimes we need to do the work as per strict schedule where time and quantity is more important than quality. You compromise on time for quality and perfection. But you should realize that there should be proper balance between quantity and quality.”
I began to realize that what she was saying was absolutely true and relevant in my case but I was not aware about those things until now. So I continued to listen attentively.
“Moreover, you lose not only quantity when you strive for perfection. You keep yourself always on the edge and unhappy with yourself. You remain stressed regarding your work thinking whether the work you did is perfect or not. You think your work should be so much perfect that no one should be able to find fault or error in it. This thinking affects your productivity negatively. Instead of thinking like that you should just do your best and set the high standard of work without thinking about others. You have to accept sooner then later that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. And no one is perfect in this world. Be confident about your work and think that as long as you gave your best it is good enough.
Perfectionism can be detrimental to your confidence too. Besides, there are many situations which are beyond our control which may come in our way to do the things perfectly. All of us are prone to make errors. To make mistakes is not a shameful thing or something bad as long as it is not due to our carelessness or foolishness. So in a sense Perfection is a flaw when it affects your confidence, capability and effectiveness negatively.”
Madam ended on a lighter note, “Whatever I just said is for these two guys and not for others. Otherwise you may start to take things lightly and it may happen one day that we have to conduct a lecture for you on how to be perfect.” And all broke into a light round of laughter.
Since that day I kept each and every word in mind and tried to change my perfectionist attitude. I’ve been able bring about change in myself and am still trying my best. There is still a strong element of perfectionism in me, but I never let it affect my confidence and capability in a negative manner. I also keep one thing in mind that as a human being I’ve the right to make mistakes unless it’s deliberate.