English: perfectionism at its finest                                                                    

English: perfectionism at its finest        English: perfectionism at its finest

English: perfectionist measuring and cutting grass

I recently read a blog I’m subscribed to, Marc and Angel Hack Life.  Their most recent post emailed to me titled “12 Things Successful People Do Differently.”  Well, I scanned through the post, planning to read the details later, and I’m halted by successful difference number five.  Number five says successful people “Avoid the trap of trying to make things perfect.”  My breath comes to a short halt as I come to a revelation of questions.  What does the need to make things perfect really do to people?  Does perfectionism hinder progress or propel it?  Is it okay to go back and “perfect” things later?  If not, does doing that mean you are less likely to move toward success because of backtracking?  And the even worse question, what is to come of me if I don’t learn how to release the need to make everything perfect?   Can perfectionism really be that bad for your life? (now that’s the ultimate question).

The funny thing is that post is not the first time I’ve come across the lesson of releasing perfectionism to propel myself towards the success I seek, but for some reason this time it really hit me where it hurts.  Perhaps it’s because I so desperately seek and need a certain amount of success to feel like all of my efforts in the past couple of years have not been in vain.  I know true success takes time,  especially when you’re transforming from a natural-born introvert to a self-made extrovert, but I think my desire for success is more based on need than want.  Sure I need to become more successful than I’ve been because I chose to solely rely on working from home as a means of income instead of returning to a job I despised after an injury then working until my home business income surpassed my job income.  But I honestly don’t think my need to see everything exactly as I see the need for it to turn out is keeping me from experiencing life in a way that I only dream about now.  Now there are times, like now, where one project could take me hours because I won’t put out junk and I’ve always taken pride in making anything I’m a part of look the best it can.  I also secretly desire a high level of perfection in the things other people do and it drives me crazy to see people who don’t seem to care about the standard of quality for what they do.   So in that aspect I can understand, where my perfectionist way slows me down.  No one needs to spend hours doing any one thing, I think that’s why I never liked school, but I can’t help spending time making a work look its best if I have to associate my name with it, especially when I write.

All of those, and a few more things about me brings me to answer some of  my revelation of questions.  Perfectionism does not hinder success, people do.  Looking at my life and coming to some realizations concerning how I’ve lived, I see my hindrance of success coming from other aspects of my personality and belief system.  I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with wanting, expecting and attempting to make things look their best.  The real culprit of success hindrance is fear, especially for me.  I never met a situation that didn’t make me crazy with fear.  Fear drives much of our lives keeping us from making advances and going forward with thoughts and ideas.  Personally, as an introvert working to evolve, fear gets the best of me because I’ve spent a great deal of my life running away from problems and I never met a person who insisted on challenging my personality and character to become more successful except a great mentor and home business partner I met about a year ago.

What us perfectionists really want is everything to look right, but what we really feel is fear things aren’t as good as they could be (and yes it’s all an unconscious desire for approval).  Right now, I’m slowed down writing this post not in paralyzing fear, but in a concerned fear the reader will find my writing unclear or I’ll overlook a writing error.  But my fears keep me from speeding toward success, not my need to make things in my life look their best.   Perfectionism is a challenge of character, not success.   The need to make things perfect (although only an attempt, not an actual destination) is never going to impede a person’s path to gain success.   What I learned in a book titled Thick Face, Black Heart by Chin-Ning Chu is success has no rules [or personality requirements].  A person can live highly successful with a mental illness, personality issues, or without good morals and values.  According to Chu, success has no respect of person.  According to the bible, everything has it’s purpose in time.  According to me, what’s meant to happen will happen.  Since there are no short cuts to success, a person only has to become available for success to happen in due time, not perfect or imperfect.

Successful (song)

Image via Wikipedia

Advertisements