Tips for the Perfectionists

If you are a perfectionist and would like to know how to overcome it in order to not be so uptight about things all the time, then read on. Perfectionism can be a good thing in situations. For example, it’s probably a good idea to have people who want to do everything perfect to build an aircraft, you know, for safety purposes. The problem with trying to be perfect all the time is that it can cause you to not take action. You can end up doing nothing instead of just doing something. Let’s look at why this happens and what you can do about it.

Perfectionists will often delay performing a task due to wanting to wait until everything is perfect. What they do is take the ready, set, ready, set, set, ready, set, set, set approach. If you never fire, you will never hit your target. It’s the fear of doing something wrong or not doing something well enough that causes you to not even want to take action.

Here’s a scenario. You want to lose weight so you go out and read a book on weight loss and you find out that one of the best things you can do is to get a coach to help you train. So what do you do? You go online and you do a ton of research to find the best gym possible. Then you go and research to find the best coach possible. You may even look into getting the right shoes, outfit, and workout gloves. What may end up happening is that in your search for that perfect coach, you don’t find one and so you end up not even doing what the book suggested that you do.

If you are a perfectionist who keeps delaying action because you want to wait for everything to be perfect, then here is a reality check: It will never be perfect. The best way to overcome perfectionism is to just take action. You need to take the ready, fire, aim approach. If you have it really bad, then you may even want to try the fire, ready, aim approach. Just take action and figure the details as you go.

Instead of focusing on quality in everything you do, sometimes you may want to focus on quantity. I am reminded of a story about a ceramics class experiment.

Ceramics Class Story

There once was a ceramics class teacher who divided her class into two groups. The first group was focused on quantity and their task was to make 50 pots. That was their task; they didn’t need to focus on anything else but to make those 50 pots. The other group was focused on quality and so their task was to make one perfect pot.

At the end of the week they were going to judge who had the best pot. Can you guess which group created the best pot? The answer is the group who focused on quantity. The group who focused on quality and had to make that one perfect pot, became frozen and was so focused on every single little detail that they didn’t move forward.

The group that focused on quantity made a better pot because they learned from their mistakes and continued learning and eventually made the best pot because they just kept learning and used what they learned from the previous pot to apply to the next pot.

The lesson of this story is obvious. If you are a perfectionist who has difficulty getting much done because you always want to have everything perfect, try taking massive action. Just create. The more you do the better. This will help you break that concern about whether or not everything is perfect because you will be too focused on producing that you won’t have time to try to make things perfect.

Overcoming perfectionism can take some time and practice especially if you have been a perfectionist your whole life. It will help also if you give yourself a time limit to complete a task. Massive action under the pressure of limited time will help you break your habit and accomplish more.


  1. Malika April 30, 2013
    • Kevin May 9, 2013

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