Perfection is an illusion that more times than not delivers less than stellar results. This is not news and yet thousands of people strive for perfection every day. This article will highlight why people strive for perfection and how to break the habit so you become happier while increasing the quality of your work.
I think Brene has it right perfectionism is a shield. Think of it as a health club membership that we never use. Having a membership makes us feel good because we have the possibility of getting healthier. The same is true for being a perfectionist it allows us to feel good about ourselves but it stops us from actually taking action and making it happen.
Five negative consequences of embracing perfectionism
- Insecurity – perfectionism allows us to live with our insecurities because our creation will never see the light of day. So no one will know are true capabilities.
- Judgment – if our work is not good enough people will judge us unfavorably and think less of us.
- Uncreative – when we follow perfectionism we can't afford a misstep so we tend to take the safer path. This kills creativity.
- Stress – perfectionism creates a ton of stress that lowers your performance and makes you prone to mistakes.
- Unhappiness – when we follow perfectionism it adds pressure and stress to our lives which rob us of joy and happiness. This leads to a weaker work product.
A Conman steals vast amounts of wealth by creating an illusion that allows the Mark to think that they're in charge. In reality, the mark is fully controlled by the Conman. Perfectionism is quite similar it gives you the illusion that you are producing your best work while the reality is quite different. Perfectionism doesn't steal your wealth it robs you of happiness and stops you from delivering your best work.
A simple strategy that produces great results
- No judgment – for most people there is a judge inside their head that monitors everything that they do. Ask your judge to take a mini-vacation. This will give you the freedom to take action.
- Good enough – when you strive to build something that's just good enough it gives you the freedom to take action now. Your first creation becomes the starting point that will allow you to create something wonderful.
- Iteration – as soon as you build the first prototype all you need to do is ask yourself how can I make this better. As soon as you asked that question you'll get ideas on how to improve your prototype. After a few rounds of iteration, you'll create something amazing.
This simple three-step process allows you to take action and improve your results very quickly. Often times this leads to a higher level of work and creativity. As an added bonus it makes it an enjoyable process.