Striving for greatness is always a good thing. Many of us hope to provide value and become the pre-eminent version of ourselves in our life time. But what happens when great isn’t good enough? There seems to be this overwhelming pressure to be ‘perfect’ in today’s society. But no matter how hard you try, ‘perfect’ is impossible to achieve because it simply doesn’t exist.
The question is, how can we continue to grow and evolve as individuals without the pressure of perfectionism weighing us down?
Acceptance – Coming to terms with the reality that perfection is unattainable is key to overcoming perfectionism. Why make a conscious effort to achieve something which is virtually impossible? That time would be much better spent working on your craft with the intention of creating something unique and special to you.
Find beauty in the flaws – There is beauty in the lines around our eyes because they denote a life filled with laughter. Rainy days may not be our preferred weather choice but isn’t the sound of rain hitting the window incredibly soothing? It’s the flaws and imperfections which create authenticity, and authenticity is truly beautiful.
Get started – Sometimes, we prolong starting a project because we fear it won’t be good enough. In the long-run, this can lead to serious procrastination. Projects become stagnant, and even worse, incomplete. All this pressure we place upon ourselves takes all the fun away from the project, don’t you think? Try to create for the pure love of doing so, without critiquing your work so harshly.
Take advantage – Perfection might be off the agenda, but greatness? That is certainly achievable. Use the desire for perfection as motivation to be the best you can be. Only this time, in a healthier, more sustainable way.
Don’t punish yourself – For us to grow as human beings, we cannot escape inevitable failures. The more we expand and progress, the more mistakes we are bound to make. Try to view mistakes as lessons learned because they guarantee that you are moving forward, not backwards.
Stop comparing – No one is perfect, no matter how shiny their Instagram feed. Continually comparing ourselves with the highlight reels of others is guaranteed to perpetuate the perfectionist cycle. Understand that everyone is unique, and that one individuals idea of ‘perfection’ could be completely contrasting to another’s. Thus, striving for perfection is futile, because the concept itself is entirely subjective.
With all that in mind, forgive yourself. It is easy to succumb to perfectionism when we set impossibly high standards for ourselves and our work. Be kind to yourself.