Sunday, December 30, 2012


How can you tell if you are a perfectionist? A perfectionist is someone who holds the underlying belief that perfection can be attained and it should be. Many people in our world today are perfectionists or have been perfectionists at some point in our lives. In fact, if you are reading this article, you are probably a perfectionist too, being drawn to the word “perfectionist” in the title and all!

Are You Perfectionist?
You can usually spot a perfectionist a mile away, simply because of the extremist behavior that is exhibited. Here are ten tell-tale signs on whether you’re a perfectionist or not:
  1. You are highly conscious and hyper-critical of mistakes. Hence, you have an extremely sharp eye toward details.
  2. You aim to be the best in everything you do, even if it is something that you are not interested in.
  3. You spend copious amount of time, right down to the last moment, to perfect something. You would rather sacrifice your well-being (such as sleep, eating time, etc) than let something be less than it can be.
  4. You set absolute ideals. There is only black and white, no grey.
  5. You are the harshest critic of yourself. You would beat yourself up over the smallest thing that went wrong, to the extent of being neurotic.
  6. You mull over outcomes if they did not turn out as envisioned. You wonder why it wasn’t a different outcome, and whether you could have done anything to prevent that.
  7. You are defensive toward criticism and have a fear of failure because they suggest imperfection.
  8. You only have the end goal in mind. If you don’t achieve the goal, it really does not matter what happens in the process.
  9. You have an all-or-nothing approach. If the situation does not allow him/her to achieve the standard he/she laid out, he/she will abandon the task because it does not make sense to spend time on something that he/she is not going to conquer.
  10. You are very conscious of any situation which might give others the perception you are not perfect.
If you are a perfectionist, you will find the above traits highly familiar to you.

What leads to perfectionism?
In general, there are three underlying motivations for perfectionism. Perfectionism may result due to either one or combination of any of the three reasons. If you are a perfectionist, you may be able to relate to one or more of the following.
1. Fierce desire for growth
They expect perfection of themselves. Their perfectionism is the result of an insatiable thirst and desire for growth and to be the best that one can be. To come anything short would be not to live up to one’s true potential, which defeats the purpose in living.
2. Social expectations
Their perfectionism comes about because it is socially expected of them. Family, teachers, coaches, managers and leaders with authoritarian, dictatorial styles induce perfectionism by drawing a high standard of benchmark we need to reach and reciprocating failure with forms of punishment. Failing is equated to being worthless. Schools and workplaces with a fierce culture of competition and strong emphasis on performance and achievement are common breeding grounds for perfectionism. Society and media perpetuate untainted, flawless, virtual, perfect end states which are subsequently brought to life in the form of imagery, verbal and sensory cues in advertising, marketing and idol worship. They create the aspiration toward unrealistic ideals and instill the belief that such ideals are in fact achievable.

3. Sense of insecurity
For some people, perfectionism may arise out of insecurity of one’s own worth. People who have faced discrimination of sorts or sidelined since young develop a sense of inadequacy or void in themselves. This abyss in turn manifests the desire or need to overtly prove themselves through their actions and accomplishments. They desire to make a statement about themselves, whether for themselves or other people around them.
To you, the reader – Are you a perfectionist? What drives you to be one?


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