(Photo by golbenge)
My name is Tracy and I am a perfectionist.
That is not bragging; it’s an admission. Perfectionism is a real problem.
Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality disposition characterized by an individual striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations. (See Wikipedia)
The good news is, that like a recovering alcoholic, I’m usually aware of it. Eckhart Tolle says the “awareness and ego cannot coexist” and the same is true for perfectionism.
What causes people to be perfectionists? I came to my own conclusion that it’s a product of being introverted, shy, which I most definitely am. Shyness seems to be coupled with insecurity. And because I’m shy I have to make sure everything I do is as good as possible, and ideally far better than average. The obvious problem from that is, if you’re afflicted with this, that you won’t attempt things unless you’re certain you’ll be judged as excellent. Or, if you do, you’ll spend too much time researching and perfecting your plans, and not enough time applying the 80/20 principle to get more done.
The not-so-good news is that perfectionism is never fully in remission. Even when I think I’m being highly self-aware I still catch myself procrastinating in some area of my life or even or aspects of projects where I am managing to make progress. Procrastination is probably the major side effect of perfectionism. In The War of Art author Steven Pressfield says that the thing we are most resistant to doing, where we are procrastinating the most, is almost certainly the thing we should get to work on. But what if you don’t know what to do? Read the rest of this entry »