6 Serious Reasons To Refuse Perfectionism

Perfectionism TaskOverextended demands for them and other people make perfectionists suffer. It is better to choose another path. Tal Ben-Shahar has been studying perfectionism for 20 years already. He found out that there are two kinds of it: positive and negative. The first kind was called “optimalism”, the second one is “traditional perfectionism”.

Perfectionists deny everything that is different to their beliefs, and then suffer when failing to correlate with their unreal standards and demands. Optimalists take their lives as they are and get use of everything happening to them. In similar conditions, optimalists are more successful. And here is the reason why.



The way is the straight line

The way is the spiral

Fear of a failure

A failure means feedback

Concentration on a goal

Concentration on a way to a goal

“All or nothing” thinking principle

Substantial and complicated thinking

Takes the defensive position

Is open for recommendations and tips

Looks for mistakes

Looks for advantages



Conservative, static

Easy to adjust, active

1. Choosing the Way

The straight line is the ideal way to the goal for perfectionists. Every side turn (a failure) means defeat for them. Optimalists treat failures as unavoidable parts of their way. Their way to the goal always contains several turns.

2. Learning from Mistakes

The main feature of perfectionists is the fear of failures, they try to avoid fails and mistakes. But mistakes let people check their durability. When they risk, fall and get up again, they become stronger. Basing on their experience, they improve their knowledge, and defeats help them more than successes.

A failure does not guarantee you a success. But no failure always means no success.

Those who understand that the failure is always connected with success learn from their mistakes, develop their character and knowledge, and finally win.

3. Low Self-Esteem

Perfectionists create conditions impossible for living with a normal self-esteem: they criticize themselves on purpose, pay attention only to their lacks and do not value what they have already reached. Additionally, their daring to idealize things and maximalist thinking make perfectionists treat obstacles as catastrophes. In such circumstances, a low self-esteem is guaranteed to appear.

It is a paradox, but psychologists found out that a person’s self-esteem becomes better when they meet failures, because that helps them understand: a defeat is not that awful. Perfectionists avoid challenges because of their fear of failures, and this is equal to convincing themselves that they are unable to deal with difficulties.

4. Top Performance

Psychologists John Dodson and Robert Yerkes proved that the person can reach the best results when their mind is in the middle state between apathy and anxiety. Optimalists experience this level of stimulation while doing their job thanks to their perception of a failure as a natural part of their lives, and because of their ability to fight for success at the same time.

5. Getting Satisfied with the Way

Perfectionists dare to ideal results. Their intensions are strong at the beginning, they work tirelessly. And then they come to overtiredness quite fast. Overtiredness can become unbearable if the process itself does not bring them sati/sfaction.

Optimalists have a more pleasant way: they get satisfied with their way and stay concentrated on their goal at the same time. Their way towards the goal is not the straight line, but they don’t even want it to be like that: they fight, doubt, lose and suffer sometimes, but they reach success as a result.

6. Effective Time Usage

Perfectionism RefusalA job is to be done perfectly, otherwise it is not worth doing: maximalist thoughts lead perfectionists to the ineffective time management. A perfectly done task (if this result can be achieved at all) requires huge amounts of efforts which are not always reasonable for some tasks.

As time is the most valuable resource, perfectionism costs a lot.

Perfectionists spend thousands of hours to do tasks that do not really demand perfection.

Optimalists are wiser about that: the task which is really important receives the same attention and time as perfectionists would devote to it. But it is often enough to complete the task well, not perfectly.

Becoming an optimalist from a perfectionist is a life-long project. This journey takes a lot of patience, time and efforts. A person who can make it, will change their life forever. 

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