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  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do a good job and putting in your best work to make sure that everything turns out fine. But it becomes toxic when one is obsessed with doing a perfect job to the extent that it is debilitating and affects their life. While perfectionism may seem like something that helps you be your best self, it only ends up draining you and can lead to procrastination, a negative view of reality, compromised health, and broken relationships. If you struggle with perfectionism, here are some steps you can take to overcome it and follow a healthier approach to your work.
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Imagine the worst-case scenario

Perfectionism often occurs as a result of the fear of embarrassment or failure. But being too careful ends up stifling creativity and innovation. When you find yourself being held back by perfectionist thinking, think of the worst-case scenarios and how unlikely it is to happen. And even if it were to happen, ask yourself how disastrous this event would be. Once you’ve done this, compare the worst-case scenario to the most likely things that can happen. Doing this lets you realise that your perfectionist thoughts are nothing but irrational.

Get rid of all-or-nothing thinking 

All-or-nothing thinking is the mindset that drives perfectionist thinking. Perfectionists tend to see everything through strict dichotomies such as “success” or “failure, “winner” or “loser”, “all” or “nothing”. Such irrational thinking never leads to anything substantial and only limits progress to a significant extent. In real life, there’s no success story without failures along the way. No entrepreneur hasn’t failed in some way. No producer has not struggled before coming up with their best work. Life is in stages. The more you work at something, the better you get at it. Allow yourself to do things imperfectly first. In time, you will learn what works and what doesn’t as you keep experimenting and learning from your mistakes.

Practise self-love

Perfectionists tend to focus on all the things they are doing wrong and forget the things they are doing well. Start focusing on your positive traits. What are the most recent things you’ve done right to accomplish your goals? Bring them up whenever your negative self-talk sets in. As you do this, you’ll begin to appreciate your strengths and build confidence in your abilities.
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Put your perfectionist thoughts to test 

Sometimes the best way to get over negative thoughts is to put them to test by taking action. Do experiments to see what happens when you practice delivering “good enough” as opposed to “perfect”. Start with low-risk situations and increase the level of difficulty as you go. Do this often and you’ll start cultivating a more realistic way of thinking. Perfectionism is a habit and like all habits, you have to create a better one to replace it, so practice. Featured image source: Hypestation
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This article was first published on 8th September 2020


My name is Samuel Okoruwa. I am an ardent researcher, reading is life and writing is fun.

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