Is Perfectionism a Good Thing?

by Ros Kitson

07 09, 2012 | Posted in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to this. Which obviously offends my perfectionist streak?  Ever since I was a child I liked the questions that had a right/wrong answer.  I excelled at maths and science and failed miserably at English. The thing about maths is that you can get the answer perfectly correct.

As I’ve got older, I’ve translated that desire for perfection onto other areas of my life; craft projects, employment tasks and more recently my own business. I want it to be perfect or else I don’t want to play.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching on this – it all comes from my parents, of course.  My father is a complete perfectionist – the type that offers unsolicited advice whenever he sees an area of potential improvement.  My mother is an amazing seamstress and her work is actually technically perfect – a hard act to follow.

It takes a long while to get things perfect, which is fine if it’s a hobby, but I forget how many hours I’ve wasted wondering to myself if an advert is perfect enough to bring me in clients rather than just sending it off.

Now, please believe me when I say, I don’t always believe perfectionism is bad.  If I was unfortunate to need some kind of surgery, I’d hope that the surgeon was a perfectionist of the highest order, but so often we  carry this over to the rest of our lives and put unnecessary pressure on ourselves.  I guess the key is to know when it’s important and when it’s not.

It’s also important to work with our own nature.  It’s in my mum’s nature to spend a lot of time working on her latest quilt. She loves the process and it pays off with the results she gets.  I like producing a finished product, but I get bored if it takes too long, so I’m better sacrificing a bit of quality for the overall enjoyment and the likelihood of finishing it.  I am like my father in that I see errors and imperfections in other’s work. Having grown up with his negative criticism, I’m now aware of how this feels.  So I can either balance it out with positive feedback, or I can just decide that it’s not that important and let it go.

And it’s amazingly liberating to finally realise that in everyday life, “good enough” is often good enough.

So having dithered for the last few days as to whether this was a good subject for a blog post, I’ve gone ahead and written it anyway.  You can decide.

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