Community//

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Resilience

Being a perfectionist will erode your resilience. Here are some ways you can stop being a perfectionist.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

One of the quickest ways to erode resilience is to try to be perfect. Some people strive for perfection to hide their shortcomings. Others think they need to project an ideal image to avoid criticism.

Unfortunately, perfection is impossible to achieve. As the pressure to be perfect builds up, we risk an explosion or collapse. Striving to be perfect requires an enormous amount of energy, leaving little in reserve for a crisis. And, if you project a perfect image, this pressures others to try to do the same.

A perfectionist boss often instills fear in subordinates who will seek to please them rather than do their best. Fear, paradoxically, generates more mistakes. Instead of using their instinct or common sense, employees try to read their boss’ minds. As a result, they drop the ball over and over. Constant criticism has a similar impact.

If you find yourself struggling with the desire to be perfect, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I trying to please others? 

Stop focusing on what you think other people expect of you. Accept that it is okay to disappoint people. Don’t let guilt drive your behavior. Live the life that you choose, consistent with your values and goals. Remind yourself that it is better to be respected than to be liked.

2. What’s the worst thing that could happen? 

If things don’t go according to your perfect expectations, how much harm, if any, will it cause? Can you live with the disappointment or anger that less than perfect may cause? Is there a real loss, or are you just imagining an adverse outcome?

3. What can I learn when things don’t go as expected? 

Accept reality rather than getting stuck to how you think things are supposed to be. Ask yourself why things didn’t things go your way. What can you improve? Is there something you could have done better? Or was it out of your control?

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Paul Bradbury/Getty Images
Wisdom//

How to Conquer Perfectionism Before it Beats You

by Gustavo Razzetti
Shutterstock
Well-Being//

There Are Three Types of Perfectionists. Which One Are You?

by Jonathan Alpert
Community//

Procrastination and Perfection: How Fear Of Failure Can Keep People From Success

by Jia Wertz

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.