Why Perfectionism Is Overrated

Have you ever procrastinated on doing something because you wanted to do it “right?” And then discovered that you could have gotten it done a long time ago if you’d just gotten started…

Today’s article takes a look at the difference between perfection and persistence….and hopefully it will encourage you to love yourself better.

If there’s one reason I’ve been able to do all the things I’ve done-like run two early learning centers, teach full-time, train and mentor new teachers 3 weekends out of 4, blog, build an online coaching business and raise a family of 3 while nurturing a very happy marriage of 25 years plus – it´s because I’ve been persistent, rather than perfect.

Perfection is overrated. For many of us all it causes is stress and discouragement. It can also be the basis for fear and a lack of self-esteem.

That said, I have to admit, I´ve battled with perfectionism most of my life. Writing in my journal recently, I began to look at the concepts of perfectionism versus persistence. Here´s what I came up with:

Perfection paralyzes.

Have you ever fallen into this trap? You think you can´t do something perfectly, so why even try at all! Whether it´s writing an article, committing to cooking healthier meals, starting an exercise plan or working out a strategy to see you through to your goals – you add them to your 1000 point to-do list…but do they ever get done?

Persistence is manageable, perfection is not.

Perfectionism has you thinking you need to be, well, perfect. You need to do that hour long exercise program every day of the week. Persistence is more manageable and more realistic. It has you realizing you what you can realistically fit into your already bulging schedule. Whether it´s a 15 minute workout, four days a week or a 30-minute walk twice a week; what´s important is that aim for progress instead of being bogged down by perfection.

Why Perfectionism Is OverratedPersistence builds you up; perfectionism drags you down.

Let´s be honest, aiming for perfectionism is exhausting!  Perfectionism sets you up for a fall, it drains the joy out of life and leaves you feeling burnt out.

Persistence means tweaking and adjusting your plan as you go – because you need to be able to last over the long haul. Expecting perfection from yourself, your family, your spouse, even your co-workers can stretch your nerves and patience to the very limit.

Perfectionism leads to frustration and discouragement; it pushes us over the edge…and watches us fall.

Persistence lets us take baby steps and encourages us to celebrate each victory along the way. It tells us, it´s okay to set smaller goals and enjoy the journey we´re on.

After all, each of us is different. Each of us finds motivation and encouragement in different ways. Don´t wait for someone to come along and figure that out for you. That´s something you need to do for yourself.

Perfectionists get caught up in comparing themselves with others. Perfectionism feeds despair. Persistence doesn´t waste its time being jealous of what others are achieving.  Jealousy stems from a lack of self-worth. Comparing your faults to someone else´s strengths doesn´t do anyone any good.

Persistence encourages us to keep our eyes on our own path, our own goals, and our own purpose.

Give yourself an advantage. Stop trying to be perfect and practice being persistent.  If you stumble and fall, get right back up. If you stop altogether, start right back up.

It doesn´t have to be hard or complicated.

Leave perfectionism at the door and simply begin again…then, keep on going.

How do you shift gears when perfection starts to get the best of you? How do you stay persistent? Will you share with me in the comments below? 

About the Author Jan Marie Mueller

Jan Marie Mueller is founder of the inspirational blog ThinkBrilliantly and The Brilliance Community, a free Facebook group dedicated to empowering women to let their inner brilliance shine! Her mission is to help women everywhere shift the way they think about themselves, their world and those around them so they have the confidence to do, be and have what they want most in life!

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