Perfectionism as a heavy weight in life - symbolized by a person in chains attached to a prisoner ball

PERFECTIONISM RESULTS IN REGRETS

Perfectionism takes a big toll, it holds people back from taking action and carrying out their plans, thus it results in regrets. 

Through this article, you’ll find out what the root of perfectionism is and why you’d better let go of it.

According to research, perfectionism is a personality disposition characterized by setting excessively high objectives and striving for flawlessness followed by overly critical self-evaluations, leading to mental pathologies such as anxiety, depression, and several disorders.

In other words, perfectionism is the unreasonable and self-defeating idea that we must be perfect, that everything we do must be perfect, and that the circumstances to start pursuing our dreams must be perfect too.  

And so, if the “perfect” conditions do not present themselves, we don’t get anything done.

We all know that “perfect” conditions rarely present themselves, and that’s why people, unfortunately, find themselves procrastinating and never starting something they know they should chase.

Many people for instance are stuck in a job they hate hoping that the “perfect” conditions show up to finally start pursuing their dreams.

But 9 times out of 10 they end up working for their entire life doing something they are not passionate about, building someone else’s dreams while they neglect their own.

The pursuit of perfection makes people procrastinate and eventually give up their dreams.

As a result, they end up feeling regretful and unhappy.

Perfectionism is like looking at the glass half empty rather than half full.

When people strive for perfection they tend to focus on what is missing in their life and use it as an excuse to lie to themselves by saying they are not ready to get things done yet.

PERFECTIONISM IS JUST A FORM OF FEAR

scared child covering his eyes

Perfectionism is used as a defense mechanism to avoid the pain that comes from facing all sorts of irrational fears, e.g. the fear of being judged, of being rejected, of being laughed at, of being disapproved of, of not being good enough, of the unknown, of failing, and many others.

The bottom line is that perfectionism is a disguise.

It is a mask we use to cover the fears that hold us back from taking action. 

So if you consider yourself a perfectionist, be humble and honest with yourself and answer the following questions:

  1. What are you disguising?
  2. What kind of fears are you trying to cover up?
  3. What is holding you back from living life to the fullest?
  4. Is it the fear of failing at the one thing you truly want to do in life, or maybe the fear of what your parents, spouse, or friends may think of you?
  5. Are those the kind of fears that lead you to play it safe in life, to lean backward and tell yourself you are not ready yet? 

I really believe that becoming aware of which irrational fear holds us back is the first step to take action and pursue our goals.

Next, we should accept the fear and use it as a compass, an indicator that shows us the way towards our personal development and ultimately the path to accomplishing whatever goal we are shooting for.

Hidden within all fears there is a priceless treasure, i.e. our chance to become better, pursue and achieve our goals, provided we overcome them.

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” - Roy T. Bennett

I still remember when I decided to face my irrational fears and stepped out of my comfort zone starting my online business and running my blog.

Before taking action I used to tell myself: “Chris you are not ready yet!”, I procrastinated for months, and the main reasons were the following ones: 

I was afraid of what my parents and friends might think of me, I was afraid of letting them down, and of course, I was afraid of not being good enough and miserably failing along the way.

But, thankfully, by looking back at my past experiences, when I hit rock bottom, I realized that what had enabled me to make a change and improve my life had been stepping into the unknown, facing the irrational fears that were holding me back, and taking action. 

The more I tackled my irrational fears, the more they lost power over me, and the more confident I felt.

What’s more, I reminded myself that the only way I could achieve my goals was by getting back to my feet every time I fell.

“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! - Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa

At the end of the day, you never fail till you give up, thus, I pledged myself to be consistent and determined.

I pledged to do whatever it took and never stop no matter how many setbacks I would experience to achieve my goals, i.e. building a successful online business and inspiring as many people as possible to strive for personal development and improve themselves regularly.

Remember it takes time to succeed, there are no shortcuts to success and, as I mentioned in previous posts, success is a journey and not a destination.

You see, we live in a world where we get everything we want with a single click or by saying “Ehi Siri” on our iPhones. 

You can even have your meal delivered to your place without bothering with going to the supermarket and cooking.

And so people end up thinking that this applies to everything, even to success in life, but this is ridiculous!

Succeeding in life is all about navigating a never-ending series of challenges and failures. 

There's no time for perfectionism, challenges must be tackled immediately and things must get done straight away without waiting for the “perfect” time and circumstances to come.

DON’T WASTE YOUR ONE SHOT

Nobody is ever perfect, nobody is ever completely ready, nobody is born a master, also the greatest had to start from the bottom. 

The problem with waiting to be ready is that you will never be, you will always find something else you must have, know or do before finally taking action.

And this is the vicious circle of chasing perfection.

This makes you procrastinate because anxiety kicks in, and you feel even more inadequate.

The only way to become ready is to start.

When I feel hesitant about taking action, I remind myself that all masters were not born so.

They started their journey uphill even if they didn’t feel ready and they managed to silence the inner voice that told them they were inadequate.

So if you find yourself having the following inner dialogue: “I want to start traveling the world, I want to start my own online business, I want to become successful, but I am not ready yet, there are still so many things I must figure out”, become AWARE of how disempowering it is.

Take the first step anyway and, day after day, you will figure out the way towards your destination.

We are all on a path and thinking that we are not ready yet results in slowing down the path that we need to get on to.

You have just one shot, make the most out of it, don’t wait for the “perfect” circumstances to show up, or you will regret wasting your life waiting for something that never comes. 

Christian Caliendo
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