The dictionary defines a perfectionist as a) a person who adheres to or believes in perfectionism, b)a person who demands perfection of himself, herself or others.
Being the kind of the fancy word that it is, I liked to call myself a perfectionist in the former years. A calming sense of relief ran down my spine when everything in my field of vision was perfectly organized. So, I silently moved towards the label of perfectionism. But little did I know back then that perfectionists aren’t thought highly of.
Coming back to the definition, I am okay with part (a) of the definition. Like every other belief that we adhere to, perfectionism might be one and it’s absolutely alright to demand perfection in most of the things, if not all of it, from oneself. But it’s unfair to demand someone else in the line or work, a close associate or a family member to stand up to your version of perfectionism. You are in full control of yourself, but you can’t control someone else’s life or bind them in the chains of rigorousness and unjust work only because you are a perfectionist and you demand an error-free work 100% of the times.
Having a belief and sticking to it is absolutely alright but trying to talk someone into it, or even worse, shoving your opinions and beliefs down someone else’s throat isn’t acceptable.
Also, you might be as deluded as I was in the yesteryears if you term your organization skills, persistence, and self-discipline as being one of the major traits of perfectionism. I, for instance, am a driven individual. I have a significant amount of internal motivation. But no matter how bad or lazy I feel, I do what I have to do without complaining. I believe that I am for myself, not against myself. And that’s why no matter how hard the workout sessions be or how prolonged the study hours turn out to be, I always remember to take care of myself and constantly remind myself that it’s okay to have setbacks once a while. So, I meditate and when the aura of positivity runs through my body, I get back to work again.
But if you are hard on yourself and ignore your health issues or just concentrate on your work without taking care of yourself and honoring your soul, you might be a perfectionist.
It’s always hard to know whether or not you fit into a certain label because once you realize where you are coming from, you can make groundbreaking discoveries and work in alignment with your body and soul.
Are you a perfectionist? What is(are) the root cause(s) of perfectionism? Continue reading and you’ll find what you’re looking for in the 7 points mentioned below.
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1. No room for mistakes
If mistakes are totally unacceptable to you and you might go to any heights whatsoever to rectify the errors, you might be a perfectionist.
By placing in the stringent procedures and rules in your workplace, you’re being a terrible boss to your employees and are disrupting the work ethics.
On top of that, you are being so hard on yourself for no reason at all. Do you remember the proverb “To err is human, to forgive divine”? Being humans, we are bound to make mistakes. You shouldn’t be quick to jump and judge them. The only rational thing to do would be to learn from them and move on in life.
2. You have a specific manner in which things should be done
Everyone has their own way of doing their work. But whilst others opt for flexibility in their plans, you are someone who is extremely rigid about when the things should be done and how they should be done.
But by practicing this form of behavior, you are turning a blind eye to all the people who might be falling preys to your rigidity. Not everyone can deal with such a huge level of stress all day.
Also, to get work done, people should enjoy what they are doing. But with you, it feels like you are the only person who is having fun by asking people to execute things in the manner you want them to when they are absolutely clueless about the Whys and Hows. And in the long run, you will no one willing to work for you because of your over-the-top perfectionist attitude.
3. All-or-nothing approach
You are a perfectionist if it is absolutely mind-boggling to interpret your demeanors.
On certain days, you leave the impression of a workaholic. You work as if there’s no tomorrow and you want to get everything done before the end of the world.
And on several other occasions, you become someone else’s worst nightmare of unproductivity. You slack off as if you have nothing to do at all. You act in a ridiculously unproductive manner, so much so that people start questioning your work ethics and morals.
4. You focus on the end result
As a matter of fact, I happened to come across a motivational video where an athlete said that whatever the crowd gets to see is in the competition is not even close to what happens during the training. He said and I quote, “ The real deal happens behind the scenes.”
It wasn’t long before that I developed performance anxiety, thinking about what the result might be. But with a sense of enlightenment, I now focus on the process and not the end result.
If you are someone who focuses on the end result but doesn’t see the importance of the work required to get there, you might be a perfectionist. Doing so will leave you stuck in the middle when you confront a hurdle in the way to your destination. However, if you trust the process and focus on it, you might be able to figure out the alternatives when you happen to have an unfriendly encounter with an obstacle.
5. You are extremely hard on yourself
I am a spiritual being. I find myself being constantly gravitated towards positivity and spirituality. The touch of spirituality in my life has made me realize the essence of honoring my body and soul.
A perfectionist would just be the opposite of what I described. They would wholly focus on getting the work done, by hook or crook. They are quite impatient when it comes to waiting to taste the fruit of persistence and perseverance. They are massive risk-takers and want the result to anything at that very instant, which isn’t realistic at all.
And somehow, God forbid, if things turn out just the other way around, they’ll beat themselves up for the failure for years and years to come. They are so hard on themselves that sometimes it becomes terrifying to someone who’s in their close proximity.
If the description fits you, then you might be a perfectionist.
6. Success is never enough
We, as individuals, should take moment off of our lives and thank the higher power or God, whatever it is that you believe in, for everything. A simple “Thankyou!” is an act of gratitude. Practising the art of gratitude is necessary for the whole of humanity because we are piled on by our cravings and desires to an extent that right after a certain whim gets fulfilled, we start chasing another, without even considering to celebrate the success and thank the driving force for getting us there.
And, oh well, perfectionists are even above that league. Their vocabulary is devoid of the term called “complacency”. They are never content with their achievements. If they have one thing, they fret over how they don’t have much of the same thing and so on.
If you are a perfectionist, you are aiming for an illusory ground and you might even be unaware of where you’re going. Success is just not enough for you.
7. You procrastinate something just to do it at the right moment
I remember some of my friends telling me, or myself being in a situation of putting off work because the clock showed 7:01 am, and I’d run out of time because I planned on starting from 7:00 am. Gone are such days, for better.
Anyways, if you are a perfectionist, you’d be blessed with the virtue of procrastination. You are interweaved in the circle of there being a “perfect” time for anything to everything. And if a moment doesn’t feel right, you put the task off for later when you feel the time is right.
But what you don’t realize is the essence of time and that by putting tasks off for later and waiting for the right moment, you might be putting yourself in a situation where you’d be waiting for the right moment indefinitely.
I am of the opinion that whatever you believe and hold in your hands will happen if you are determined to make it happen. And when the universe aligns with your plans, nothing will be able to affect you. So, do whatever you want to do NOW for NOW is the time to make changes and go through transitions. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable because victory lies on the other side of your comfort zone.
When you are constantly satisfying the temptation to make everything perfect and are focused on putting 2 and 2 together so that the outcome doesn’t become 5, you are missing out on an important factor called life. What is a man who hasn’t experienced the bittersweet aftertaste of failure?
So, let go and live in the moment. Things will happen the way they are supposed to. Practice the art of perseverance and consistency along with self-discipline and trust me, these virtues will lead you way ahead in life than your perfectionist attitude would do.
I hope I touched your life in one way or another by virtue of my words. Thank you!