Perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life-paralysis.
Most human beings are hard-working, success-oriented creatures. Their drive to succeed is what sets them apart from other living creatures that inhabit the planet. It is not uncommon to come across students burning the midnight oil or employees working for extended hours to achieve the desired results. In fact, it would be safe to assume that this desire, which often appears obsessive, is the hallmark of a driven individual. It is this ambition to make it big in life that keeps us going, even when the summit may appear distant and perhaps even beyond our reach.
That said, hard work must not be allowed to morph or degenerate into some sort of perfectionism. While this may sound a bit queer, perfectionism often only cripples our ability to learn and grow. Of course, there is nothing wrong with pursuing excellence, but making it our priority invariably results in failure and disappointment. The result? We may fail to fulfill the goals we had initially set our eyes upon. Furthermore, we are likely find ourselves in a position worse than the one we were before embarking on this mission impossible. The reason for this is that perfectionism is often characterized by unreasonable (and even unachievable) goals. All it means is pushing yourself too hard or obsessing about something that may not even be worth the effort, for it will give you anything but the satisfaction you had set out to achieve in the first place.
We must remember that, in theory, our goals are themselves a means to an end – happiness. Any goal that deprives us of our peace of mind in the long run is probably best given up on. Like the celebrated American professor and author Casandra Brené Brown once said, “Perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life-paralysis.”