Shawn and James are siblings. Both of them are soccer players. Shawn, the elder one, is a defender while the younger one is an ace striker. James is no doubt, an outstanding striker; but he thinks he is perfect at his work, while Shawn always believes, he can still improve more in his plays. And so, he is always bullied by his brother regarding perfection.

Just because of the constant obsession with the word “perfection”, Shawn has become prone to anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. He no longer can concentrate on his plays because he thinks he is not perfect and so worthless, unlike his brother.

This is not the case with Shawn only. Many of us can relate to both brothers as well, the one who believes in perfection and considers him to be a perfectionist and the one who is not. Is it justified to classify who is right or who is wrong between these two?

What is perfectionism?

One of the greatest tragedies of our generation is the never-ending struggle for perfection. Everyone wants to be perfect. They need a perfect career, perfect relationship, perfect life, and not what!

Perfection means that everything has to be done to the point, where there are no flaws at all and if there are flaws, then it is a failure. According to research, perfectionism is a personality disposition, that is characterized by setting excessively high objectives and striving for flawlessness, every single time.

What causes perfectionism?

There are a number of factors that contribute to perfectionism, which are listed below;

  • The never-ending Comparison Trap by society.
  • Frequent feelings of insecurities and inadequacies.
  • Limiting beliefs on oneself.

Is it practically possible to be perfect?

If a student scores 100% in any subject, does it mean he is perfect or he needs no improvement? Obviously not!!

Even a fully efficient Dettol kills 99.99% of germs!

Even a transformer is 97 to 98% efficient!

A child is imperfect still he is loved by all. And for his parents, he is the most beautiful creature.

Just imagine the scenario of a perfect world. No crimes, no problems, no social, political or religious issues, no sadness and the list continues.

Alas! This is only our imagination because we know the reality of today’s world. Perfection is thus a hypothetical case, not a practical one. Moreover, it is an illusion.

Signs you might be a perfectionist

Are you never satisfied with your achievements?

Do you feel you are not good enough?

Do you want to be perfect?

Are you one of those, who is not even happy after scoring 95 out of 100 in any subject?

If your answer is yes, then it is a sign, that you are deep down insecure.

Perfectionism vs Idealism

Perfectionism can have an intense impact on your life. It also leads to overly critical evaluations of one’s behavior.

Perfectionists are detail-oriented. They have rigid structures and rules.

They always look for what is not working.They always look for what is working.
They say,” No,but..”They say,” Yes, and…”
They are afraid of making a mistake.They view mistakes as proofs that they are trying.
They are so threatened by the success of others.They are inspired and encouraged by others.
They always look how far they have to go.They always look to see how far they have come.

When does perfectionism become a problem?

Perfectionists always focus on the results which hinder their success.

  • Firstly, they are always busy questioning their previous decisions, due to which they take much longer time to finish a work.
  • Secondly, due to this nature of procrastination, their task seems monumental.
  • Thirdly, they face a lot of anxiety and stress because they are constantly worried about work with the fear of being judged.
  • In addition to this, they are always afraid of making mistakes, which hamper their skill development.

Even the perfect moments have no joy for them because they are not perfect enough.

In conclusion, they always strive for more perfection in everything.

Different imperfections in our life

There are many imperfect moments in our life like the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, your struggle, rejections, a betrayal, a chronic illness, the ending of what you thought was your forever relationship, and many more. The occurrence of these imperfections is not under our control, but the way we respond to them is completely our choice.

It is in these imperfect moments that our hearts speak to each other. These are the moments when we get to dig in and realize the depth of our flexibility and we get to strengthen our courage. We get to stretch the belief and knowledge of just how much we are capable of improving ourselves.

It would be so boring if everything works perfectly, or according to our plans. We are humans, not gods. We weren’t born to be perfect, we were born to be ourselves.

Beauty of Non-perfectionists

We are naturally non-perfectionists. The more we understand how perfection is unattainable, the less control it has over us. The more we understand, how our imperfections are natural, the more power we have over our thoughts and actions.

Look at this little girl. She manages to smile despite being in a hospital bed. Such is the beauty of imperfection.

a smiling girl

Perfection is about being the brightest star in the sky while imperfection is about realizing that even if you are not the brightest star, you are still a source of light.

Accept and appreciate your imperfections

Some people see perfection as the driving force to their success and in turn their happiness. It’s not that we should not strive for perfection, but we must be realistic. We must recognize the merits of appreciating imperfections as well.

Accepting our imperfections unfreezes us by taking away the fear of failure created by the setting of unrealistically high standards. It creates patience and persistence because we learn to keep at it adding improvements in the pursuit of our goals. So it’s high time we learn to appreciate imperfections. And instead of striving for perfection, we must focus on consistent improvements.


Perfection is the enemy of progress – Winston Churchill

Perfection is boring. Getting better is where all the fun is.

No one is born perfect and no one will ever be perfect. Being perfect is what’s stopping you from being good. It makes you question all your efforts and focuses only on the result. It is a neurotic unwillingness to accept reality. The irony is that being imperfect makes this world perfect and beautiful. You must believe that it is your imperfections that make you unique.

Also read: The Power of Belief

Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you do and fix it along the way – Paul Arden

You need to embrace your imperfections and your mistakes. It is normal and healthy to want to achieve to excel in your passions. But what is unhealthy, is the constant quest for perfection in every aspect of your life.

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