The idea that perfection is a prerequisite for success is prevalent both in popular culture and in self-help books, but it’s not entirely accurate. In fact, the desire to be perfect can diminish a person’s likelihood of achieving what they want in life. Being perfect is a vampire: constantly sucking the blood of your success. So what does it mean to be successful? What this post will explore are some examples of people who have achieved greatness without being perfect.
In a previous post, I covered the idea that perfectionism can be looked at as a compensation for low self-esteem . “ Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people .” Life is messy and there are no strict criteria for classifying something as perfect. Even if there were some kind of universal criteria, it would not apply to everybody; therefore, success can only be defined in relative terms. In other words: Perfection is an idea that belongs to someone else’s mind map. Its perception as “success” on your part will not be the same from the person’s point of view.
The desire to be perfect can diminish a person’s likelihood of achieving what they want in life.
In the case of success, it is often defined by what you have: money, fame, a nice car and so on. There will always be someone with a bigger house or with more money in the bank. In some ways, even if everybody has possessions that they deem to be “successful”, these possessions cannot be quantified because not everybody values them in the same way.
The other way success can be defined is by the achievements in your life. This is more relevant to how you feel about yourself. Your achievements are often accompanied by feelings of pride and satisfaction: you did it! It’s an achievement when you finish a long project or when you help someone in need. However, the desire to be perfect can sometimes make us lose sight of our own achievements.
In my work as career coach, I have often found that the source of perfectionism lies in the childhood. Some people may have been told that they were not good enough as kids and they are trying to prove themselves with their achievements. Sometimes, some parents focus too much on achievement and neglect the other more important aspects of a child’s life. When you…