January 23, 2012


Last week I was talking to someone who said that striving for perfection is not about excellence, but about seeking approval.  She made a good case for the theory, using examples of children who seek approval from parents and teachers.

I have a different take.  I say the quest for perfection isn’t about excellence, it’s about control.  When you inspect and study and review and revise a task over and over, you feel like you’re in control of a situation.  By examining every particle and speculating about every conceivable outcome, you’re not leaving anything up to chance.  While this level of attention to detail is important to a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, it’s not reasonable for most tasks.

If you struggle with perfection, ask yourself if good enough is good enough the next time you’re working on a project.  Work toward excellence when a job merits the extra effort.

What are your thoughts on perfectionism?  Do you have ideas for people who want to limit their perfection seeking?  Click on Post a Comment, below, and tell us.

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