Why I'm Over Perfectionism

There’s a part of me that really hates writing this. Even now, my fingers are slightly hesitating to stroke the keys because writing has just become so unnerving for me. Almost every time I take to my computer nowadays, I find myself feeling frustrated, tired, and unfulfilled. No matter how much inspiration I manage to muster, most attempts at creating content tend to follow the cycle: type, read, hate, repeat. 

I’ve been finding excuses all week to avoid writing an article, fearing the pain I now associate with the process. That was - until today - when after forcing myself to sit down and make myself write something, that I realized perfectionism was my problem.

At some point during my college career, “perfectionist” was a characteristic I came to associate myself with. For many, this doesn't’ sound so bad. In fact, you’d think it’s a good thing, even great. Perfectionists are known for having ambition, a stellar work ethic, and - surely - they must produce great results at whatever they’re working on. Why wouldn’t you strive to be a perfectionist? Well, having been one myself, I can tell you that it may not be exactly what you think. In fact, it kind of sucks.

You Never Get Anything Done

A perfectionist’s work is never finished. You can spend days or even weeks writing a paper or practicing a speech, and it will never be enough. No matter how hard you work, there will always be more areas to tweak and tune. While there’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself from time to time, you’re ultimately signing yourself up for a never-ending job.

Perfection is the Enemy of Creativity

Any good artist will tell you that creativity is a messy process that requires both experimentation and error; It is the opposite of perfection. Hindering your creative side results in an inability to develop new and original ideas. You are doomed to never stand out.

You’re Never Satisfied

To be a perfectionist is to never find fulfillment in one’s work. Even when you do inevitably settle on your final draft, it’s just that, settling. You are your own worst critic, and even if you do yield spectacular results, you will only ever see what’s bad about what you produce, never what’s good. If your flaws don’t drive you crazy, your consistently negative mindset will.

Perfection Doesn't Exist

No great work - made by either nature or man - can truly be labeled as “perfect.” It is a concept, not a reality. Beyond this even, what is perfect is going to vary from person to person. What you seek to achieve, even if you do achieve it, will always be imperfect in the eyes of another. It is simply an impossibility.


So, here I am, a perfectionist vowing before you that I will relinquish my ways. Does that mean I’m going to stop working hard or give up on my goals? Of course not. I’m still striving to be the best I can be every day, and that’s ultimately all anyone can really ask for. If anything, I feel even more empowered and even more of capable of achieving amazing this by no longer allowing myself to be confined by the limitations of perfectionism.  At the end of the day, I am no lesser for the imperfections I possess, and neither are you. 

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