Perfectionism is a mental drive to make something perfect and is on a continuum, some have it more than others. This drive results in actions the person will take, some good and some bad.
There are good and bad components of perfectionism. The good is obtained if the perfectionist puts in a lot of work to perfect the product. However, there are many bad mental and behavioral components of perfectionism.
The bad comes from the experience of anxiety regarding the product not being perfect. Anxiety can make working on the project so miserable that a diminished amount of work is done. Perfectionism can paralyze a person into not attempting the task. Perfectionism can also result in less production because the product is withheld due to perfectionism fears. Perfectionists often argue that it takes a lot of work to accomplish something and this is correct, but you do not have to be burdened by perfectionism to put in a lot of work.
Tips to combat perfectionism:
- Do not give up the good in the quest for the perfect. Many times perfectionists will not take an action or release a product because they want to make it perfect. They need to realize that perfection is an illusion and appreciate the good things that they can contribute for immediate use. There is a tremendous loss to individuals and society from this type of behavior.
- Analyze your need for perfection and consider alternative thoughts that will create alternative thoughts and behaviors. This can lead to discovering ways to address the need that will support goal directed behavior.
- Look at the cost associated with not taking action or releasing a product due to perfectionism. Look at the cost to you of not making some suggestions or the cost to others of not having your product to help them.
Contributors: James I. Millhouse from Atlanta Psychological Associates