After working on an assignment for days on end, you finally finish. But wait, did you really? Is this really your best work or did you just want to get this done and over with? Reading it again, you see flaw after flaw. You rewrite it, as the fear of getting a disappointing grade is weighing you down. But this is still not good enough for you. You want it to be outstanding, perfect even, but it never reaches your standard of perfection. So why do we always seem to strive for something we can’t reach?
Perfection. The state of flawlessness. It is a characteristic that many want to achieve. It is the ideal, the very best, what everyone should strive for. Perfection is something always looked up to, but is it really all that great? In today’s environment, many people long for perfection. They WANT to be the best of the best. Others DEMAND them to be the best. Perfectionism has always been thought to be a positive trait in our society, and many wish to have this sort of mentality. Many times, perfectionists are sought for the high quality of their work and diligence. But when is it too much? Constantly striving for perfection goes hand in hand with a fear of failure. What if you tried so hard to make it perfect, yet whatever you do, it just isn’t. It never reaches the invisible standard you created for yourself, and leads to self-criticism. The point of life isn’t to be perfect all the time. It is okay to make mistakes, and that’s where perfectionists seem to fall flat.
Many people in society make it seem like it is not okay to fail, but that stigma of always being the very best can lead to a potentially hurtful mindset. Perfectionism implies that one must be the best at all times, yet the longer one gets stuck in this way of thinking, the more detrimental effects there will be in the long run. Some may say “failure is not an option” as a way of motivating, striving for perfection, yet this can be extremely unhealthy. If you never leave any room for failure, when it does happen, you get extremely disappointed. You put in all that effort, all that time, just to fail. You start to think, “if I just don’t put in that effort, if I fail it makes sense.” You do this because you are scared. Scared to try again. Scared to put in the effort and still fail. So, you wait. You wait till the deadline and start working on it, two hours before it is due. You know this isn’t your true potential, but the fear of failure is still lingering. You barely finish on time, but even though you know it won’t be perfect, you still feel the guilt. A procrastinator’s guilt. You avoided your fear of failure by setting yourself up for actual failure. This constant pattern of perfectionism and procrastination will take a toll on you, so you must find a balance, and not take the extremes.
One can still find success even if their work isn’t perfect. Take professional athletes as an example. If they are considered to be the epitome of perfection, the best of the very best, why do they still constantly improve? They strive closer and closer to perfection, but they will NEVER truly reach it. They don’t fear failure, they use it as a source of motivation to not give up. They do better; they work harder. That’s what makes them the best, having the mentality that even if things aren’t perfect, it will still be okay. Perfectionists are unable to recognize this truth, blinded by the idea of perfection. Perfectionism is a flaw, not something that should be desired, and should be acknowledged as such.
3 thoughts on “Should One Strive for Perfection?”
Your blog is very compensating, where one can feel welcomed after what they think is a major loss but it can help build them up and strive for a better outcome. I think perfection does come from cultural backgrounds and influence, how it affects me is very rational, being an only child from an immigrant family, I am their only shot at the “Great American Dream”. Sometimes perfectionism can feel very constricting, you see peoples who get into harsh colleges, they get all the freedom they want now and go hard at partying or other unusual activities but it can have really bad outcomes. Learning to moderate and balance yourself is a key component to thinking that you made your life worth living.
I loved the conclusion you left, that “Perfectionists are unable to recognize this truth, blinded by the idea of perfection.” In this day and age, many of us are trying to become the best versions of ourselves yet setting unreachable goals that are nearly impossible to achieve. As a result, we can go crazy just thinking about how much better we could be. I can speak from firsthand experience and encourage others to push themselves, but never too hard.
I love how you built up perfectionism, something people often strive for, to be a flaw! Personally, I struggle with perfectionism and I never viewed it as a flaw; this blog proposed a fresh aspect.