The Perfect Goodbye? Kicking Perfectionism to the Curb


One of the biggest problems I have — when it comes to getting my shit together, anyway — is that I’m a perfectionist. A lot of people hear the word “perfectionist” and assume that everything in that person’s life is ideal and immaculate. Not the case. Striving for perfection doesn’t even remotely equate to achieving it. (I wish!)

In fact, for many, it’s the exact opposite. I often put off doing something until I know how to make it perfect, which then leads to the thing never actually getting done at all. In the quest to find the “perfect” item of furniture, or the “perfect” paint colour, rooms are left untouched for years because I’m afraid of making a (costly) mistake. (My house isn’t untidy, I’m just a fucking perfectionist, alright?! 😛 )

My fellow stationery addicts will understand the unwillingness to write in a new notebook for fear of ruining it, and some fellow book-lovers will empathise when I say that broken spines and folded pages give me the heebie jeebies.

Perfectionists also often spend a lot of money in the quest for the “perfect” item or setup, and regularly experience feelings of failure and frustration when things aren’t “just so” (which is pretty much all the time). But that’s no way to live.

So here’s what I’m going to aim for:

QUOTE - Positive Productivity Over Perfectino

I say “positive” because you can spend your whole day working and “being productive” but then have very little to show for yourself at the end of it. Positive productivity is doing things that make a difference. That have a positive impact.

I want to get shit done, even if it’s not perfect. It’s hard to reach perfection, but it’s even harder if you try to get there without making any mistakes along the way. I, for one, see mistakes as failures. As ‘imperfections’. Instead, I need to change my mindset. There are two ways I need to do this:

  • The first is to see mistakes as lessons on how to reach perfection. Knowing all the ways something doesn’t work helps me clarify what WILL work.
  • The second is to realise that perfection is rare… and fleeting. Not everything can be perfect all the time. Rather, one or two things can be perfect for a while. I’d rather my daughter be in perfect health than have the perfect piece of furniture for the sitting room. And even if I did have the latter, would it still be perfect a year from now? Five years from now? Things change.

I need to stop chasing perfection and start chasing positive productivity. I need to focus on what I can do to take a step in the direction of perfection, without expecting to arrive there in one leap. And I have to realise that trying and failing (or falling short) is infinitely better than being paralysed by the self-imposed goal of perfection.

I’ve already spoken about how important it is to clear out the crap before moving on with your life. Well this is what I’m doing. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to work 100% of the time, but I’m going to try to leave my perfectionist tendencies in 2014. I’m going to focus on just getting shit done, even if the result is… well, shit.

To tweak a popular saying:

QUOTE - Tis better to have tried and tanked...


What are you leaving behind?


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  4. I’ve just found your blog through your youtube channel and I have to say that this is so me! As an example, I had a new phone upgrade 5 days ago and I still haven’t turned it on
    I’m about to embark on a massive decluttering, organising and re decorating mission and I know I need to stop being such a perfectionist and stop wanting it to be magically done over night and just get on with it. Wish me luck and I’ll be looking back over some of your other posts to help me out, starting with getting rid of 100 things tomorrow

    • Oh, best of luck with that one, Emma! If it helps, I like to think of things in terms of PROGRESSING to perfection. I start doing something because I want to BECOME perfect at it. You can’t be perfect at something if you’ve never tried it, so it may help you to think of it in terms of following the path to perfection.

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