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July 05, 2008

The perils of perfectionism

photo of baby available via a Creative Commons license at http://www.flickr.com/photos/photosydney/2286946531/

There's a good article in Psychology Today about all the ways that being a perfectionist screws you up. In addition to the more obvious things the article discusses... such as how perfectionists are filled with anxiety and low self-esteem... the thing that caught my attention was how being a perfectionist can actually make you less likely to achieve perfection...

The truly subversive aspect of perfectionism, however, is that it leads people to conceal their mistakes. Unfortunately, that strategy prevents a person from getting crucial feedback—feedback that both confirms the value of mistakes and affirms self-worth—leaving no way to counter the belief that worth hinges on performing perfectly. The desire to conceal mistakes eventually forces people to avoid situations in which they are mistake-prone—often seen in athletes who reach a certain level of performance and then abandon the sport altogether.

See the article on PT's website.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at July 5, 2008 07:06 AM