Perfectionism – a reflection by Markus Cerenak

© iQoncept-

Perfectionism makes you small, dissatisfied, doesn’t let you get going, holds you back, scares you of the result, lets you make comparisons, makes you feel overall not good enough. So perfectionism is a great way to keep you in the system and think:

• I’m not good enough to do XY
• I still can’t do enough to do XY
• I still don’t know enough to do XY
• I still need A, B, and C to do XY

Why we’re even proud of it:

I find it particularly exciting when perfectionists have also put together an armada of arguments to prove that this is the right thing to do and how good it is that they are.

• I’m not satisfied with the average.
• I am a person who always strives for the best
• Good isn’t good enough.

There are more such statements that only lead to one: Namely, that you don’t get into doing, into acting, into implementing, that you never start, never finish, that you can never sit back satisfied. To make up for a book title by Paul Watzlawick: Perfectionism is definitely a guide to unhappiness.

10 Signs of perfectionism

1) Any result other than your expectation is bad.

You have set your mind to something, defined a goal and worked it out in detail for yourself. If there is now (either on the way or in the result) a tiny change, your perfectionism strikes and pushes you „back on track“. Even if the new result is even better, it’s about „doing it as agreed“.

2) Perfecting something is your ultimate goal, no matter what the cost.

Your idea of something is just above things. Even if others are harmed by it or it has a negative effect on you, you are prepared not to modify something that has already begun. „We’ll do that now, even if it hurts!“

3) You are too attentive, overinterpreting, judgmental, overcritical

Especially with others, you will notice every little insecurity. In order to express your perfectionist view, you point to the shortcomings of others, measure them, take the liberty of evaluating them according to your quality standards: „But that’s certainly even better!

4) You have to be the best everywhere, even if you don’t care.

Whether in sports, at work, in private life etc.. You simply have to show everywhere that you are the „showcase model“. You have to win, be the first, assert your opinion. Even if things are not close to your heart, your perfectionism pushes you to „I can’t leave it like this. Being number two doesn’t work at all.“

5) Nobody but you can do it that well.

You don’t give up responsibility, you do everything yourself and you’re restless when someone represents you? A good sign of perfectionism paired with little trust in the abilities of others. A little arrogance also resonates: „Only if I do that will it really be done properly“.

6) Changing plans means failure for you.

One has become suited to something and suddenly aspects change and what was desirable is suddenly irrelevant or even counterproductive. The signs are so different that the plan is abandoned and (although logical) very devastating for you: „But that’s what we have discussed!

7) You live in a binary world of zero and one, of black and white, all or nothing.

There’s not much to explain about that. There is only right or wrong for you. Point. No shades. And it is clear that the „right“ is at home with YOU. „Sorry, but I won’t let you discuss that with me. There I have my firm opinion.

8) No one can criticize you like you do. Even because of the little things you quarrel with yourself.

Your inner dialogue is hell. If somebody else would jump with you like that, you wouldn’t let that happen. But you are allowed to bash yourself, criticize yourself, belittle yourself and rebuke what you think: „I am really too stupid for everything“.

9) When someone criticizes you, you’ll quickly become emotionally

But don’t let the feedback come from the outside. When someone points out shortcomings to you, your perfectionism is shaken to its foundations. Your reaction is always emotional. Rationality and professionalism have a break. (The quotations that might go with it have fallen victim to censorship.)

10) You avoid all situations where you could appear imperfect or amateurish, even if nobody expects you to be good.

Learning or starting something new is difficult for you because you know that you cannot yet do it. You seriously expect yourself to master the most difficult skills or processes immediately, i.e. in real time. Since this usually doesn’t work, you avoid situations in which you can be considered a beginner: „No, I don’t think that’s my thing. I don’t even need to try it out. I already know that.“


Countermeasures – quick and dirty

1. Focus on the big picture, identify insignificant details and remove them step by step from your assessment.
2. Accept that others do it differently and let them do it.

3. What is the motif behind perfectionism? What do you want to achieve with it? Acceptance? Status? Confirmation?

4. I understand that this is about arriving, not finishing.

5. Start having fun with your insecurities and mistakes, be good to you.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others. The death of any advancement is comparison.

7. See what can be done and what only takes time.

8. Observe the process and do not judge the outcome.

9. Recognize your successes and document them. Don’t do this with failures.

10. Recognize the difference between „finished and imperfect“ and „perfect but never finished“.

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