In yesterday’s episode of my podcast, Master Your Mission, I talked about how misplaced ambition can lead to depression. Here’s a link to that episode if you’d like to listen.
One of the ways misplaced ambition can lead to depression is when it is tied to perfectionism. First, let me explain what perfectionism is.
Perfectionism, as defined by Google Dictionary, is the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
That may not sound so bad at first, but when perfection becomes the standard, it gets dangerous to your success and to your mental health.
In thinking of perfection, some rather obvious, but hard to answer, questions come to mind. What exactly is perfection and how does one achieve it? Is it a certain number of likes on social media? Is it making a certain amount of money or having a specific number of children in life?
Perfection is really subjective. What’s perfect to you may not be perfect to me. And unfortunately, most people are horribly critical of themselves. We come up with our idea of what perfect is, and oftentimes that idea is not based in reality. So when we strive to reach that idea of perfection, that isn’t even based in reality, we set ourselves up for failure from the beginning.
Perfectionism is why many of you haven’t started your businesses yet, or haven’t mended a broken relationship, or haven’t started working out, or haven’t committed to doing whatever it is in life that you want to do. You have a perfectionist idea of what things should be and you constantly tell yourself you could never actually reach that idea.
And, of course, you’re right. But if you allow yourself space to fuck up, to be imperfect, to get off track, to fail, to be lazy some days, and to just suck sometimes, you’d be much more likely to take that action and move on your dreams. Accepting where you are on your journey is the best thing you can do to counter perfectionism and get unstuck.
Yesterday, I used the example of Instagram influencers who post picture after picture of perfection. Their goal is to pass their lives off as perfect so that you can’t stop looking and secretly wishing your life could be perfect too. If only you could see the reality behind that photo.
Perfectionism keeps you in your head, dwelling on things that don’t matter in the big scheme of things. It keeps you stuck, unable to make the next move or the next decision because you have an unrealistic idea of how things should be. Adopt the practice of imperfectionism. That is, refuse to accept any standard that requires perfection, and you’ll find that taking action and actually reaching your goals becomes much easier.
Also, if you know someone who might enjoy this article, please share it with them. And listen to my podcast, Master Your Mission, for daily motivation and inspiration to pursue your dreams.