Did you know perfectionism is one of the biggest confidence killers?
Obsession with “getting it perfect” to avoid criticism and failure.
Raise your hand if you’re a self-proclaimed perfectionist. You too huh?
The pursuit of perfection can be crippling. This perfectionist thinking plagues mostly women.
It’s no wonder perfectionism is linked to numerous negative health effects, including higher rates of anxiety, depression, unhappiness and eating disorders.
That’s crazy to think about. But it’s true.
Perfectionism keeps us stuck in the cycle of self-doubt. As harsh as it sounds, it is an EXCUSE to avoid something we don’t like or we don’t have much confidence around. It keeps us from putting our great ideas and our great selves out into the world.
Perfection paralysis is a trick your mind plays on you in an attempt to keep you safe.
Whenever you are about to put a piece of yourself out in the world (say by starting a business or asking someone out on a date) you form an idea of it in your mind first. You think, “I don’t want to be rejected or judged.” “I don’t want to fail.”
If perfection is your standard, of course you will never be fully confident because the bar is always impossibly high, and you will inevitably and routinely feel inadequate.
Action is the anecdote to self-doubt. Well, here’s the rub. Perfectionism keeps us from taking action. Perfectionism is the greatest form of procrastination.
I’m reminded of an important principle from the science of systems and software design: the good-enough principle.
The principle states that most consumers will use products that are good enough, even if there are more technically advanced options available to them.
This means that in most areas of life, good enough really is good enough. True success is progress towards goals that matter to you.
When you strive for perfection, you are bound to fail, and this can lead to even more self-criticism, turning your mind into your enemy.
By calling on the good-enough principle to reframe your perspective, you are giving yourself permission to fail.
Trust me: You will fail at something along the way. It is only when the pressure of perfection has been removed that you can tap into your inner genius and do your best work.
Next time you find yourself stalling out on an important project, suffering from writer’s block or avoiding asking your cute co-worker out to dinner, remember the good-enough principle and give yourself permission to try.
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