How many of you out there are perfectionists?
You know, those people who spend all their time and energy fine-tuning the details to death.
Are you guilty?
While some of you may not completely identify as a perfectionist, I’ll bet you’ve done it on more than one occasion.
After all, perfectionism is a mindset; it’s a mindset of rigidity and unrealistic ideals.
Nobody’s exempt from falling into ineffective thought patterns, so really consider whether or not you’ve fallen prey to the monster known as perfectionism.
Perfectionism is the enemy of progress
There are times where we’re pressured to bring our A game to the table. No, it feels more like our A++ game to the table.
“It’s gotta be PERFECT” we’re told, “or else.” So we go over every detail with a microscope, all the while being crushed with the weight of others expectations. Progress comes to a halt, and suddenly the deadline is added to your ever-filling plate of stressors.
This is how non-perfectionists are pushed into the perfectionist mindset, it’s the fear of not meeting other peoples expectations.
And that’s the root of perfectionism, fear.
It’s the fear of not accounting for every variable; the fear of not having the best laid plan; the fear of just not meeting your – or others – expectations.
So we act carefully, so carefully that we forget that our job is to finish what we started, not examine every detail to the bones.
Completionism is the catalyst to success
What’s needed is a change in mindset. We need to focus on completing our goals, THEN we can go about polishing our work. This means focusing on the barebones of our goals and not worrying about optimization at all.
In product development, there’s something called a “minimum viable product.” The idea behind it is that you launch a new product with only the barest essentials, and then you adjust it based on customer feedback. The result is a product that is molded to perfection thanks to the feedback it receives.
This is what we should do when it comes to achieving goals.
Start by making only the barest plan to achieve your goals; the simpler, the better. It could be one small thing a day or twice a week for 20 minutes, doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is the experience you gain.
As it grows, you learn what adjustments you need to make to improve your course of action. And unlike when you make a “perfect plan,” you actually know what you need to add because you have REAL experience.
So completionism is about two things really:
1) A basic plan (as basic as possible)
2) Minor adjustments based on experience
3 ways to jumpstart your completionist mindset
Before I go, here are a few tips to get you started with the completionist mindset.
1) Get started NOW. Always just try and get started, don’t bother looking for the “best” approach. Use the “minimum viable product” strategy of using only the bare minimum to actually take action.
2) Is it optimal? Stop worrying about whether what you’re doing is “the best” way of doing things. With a little real world experience, you’ll intuitively begin to know what changes you should make to improve your success rate.
3) Maintain Momentum. Every time we stop to assess our work, it slows down our progress. (ESPECIALLY for the perfectionist). It’s honestly not that necessary to keep assessing your work, once a week at most is all that’s needed.
Any changes you make to your plans are always followed by a temporary slow-down as you adjust to them. If you do this too often, your motivation may drop enough to make you abandon your goal.
Here’s a tip I learned as writer, “write drunk, edit sober.” It means to write whatever comes to your mind without judging it. Afterwards, you carefully hack away at non-essentials and polish your work.
This is a mindset we can apply to our goals; we just work toward them without judging our progress. Maybe once a week, take a break from the action and see how you did. This is the time to assess things, go ahead and adjust based on your experiences.
Afterwards, it’s just rinse and repeat.
Now it’s your turn…
What are some things you’re a perfectionist about? What are your strategies for overcoming perfectionism?
Please leave a comment below and let me know!
These tips will help put you on the path to success. One quality exhibited by many successful people is that they don’t let their fear of failure hold them back. Be sure to read this advice to help you overcome any fears of failure that you may have.
|Written on 9/27/2013 by Ericson Ay Mires. Ericson Ay Mires is a featured writer here at Dumb Little man. He’s also a freelance writer, and he’s ready for hire! Check out his ultimate guide on beating procrastination, I think you might like it.|
Photo Credit: anna jarske