“To Perfect, or Not to Perfect: that is the Question”

“To Perfect, or Not to Perfect: that is the Question”

Just a bit more tweaking, or maybe a complete do over. Sometimes, I totally do my head in when I  want something to be perfect! I don’t mean run of the mill perfect, I mean bells and whistles  perfect. Shabam…..WOW…amazing….outstanding….incredibly perfect.

Some would refer to me as a perfectionist, type A personality, meticulous, task focused, and at times inefficient. It’s funny when you think you have produced something perfect, how can that lead to inefficiency???


Have you ever heard that saying “P’s get degrees.” Well ask me that a few years ago and that would send me into a tizzy. I would question, how can I be happy with not knowing I didn’t put in 110 percent? Even when I know I have put in 110 percent and somebody else doesn’t believe so. That also would send me into a tizzy as my judgement of perfectionism has been shattered with my  perspective being flipped upside down.

And you know what that leads too…….well, to refresh your memory proooooooooocrastination! I hope I proved a point there as if it is not going to be perfect, you either burn yourself into the ground making it perfect thus being inefficient, or you avoid the feeling of disappointment and failure that may come if things are not perfect and keep yourself occupied with unrelated tasks. Again, being inefficient as you are not getting done what is intended to be done.

Sadly, nobody wins.

So, how do the meticulous, task focused, type A personality, sometimes inefficient manage to be flexible with their standard of perfectionism? I could just break into song and tell you to “Let it go, let it go.” Ok, enough of that as seeing the movie once was enough for me to have that song be an earworm in my brain. Sorry Frozen fans. If you do identify yourself as being a somewhat perfectionist, then you will know it sometimes takes more than an ambiguous statement like “Let it go” to change your mindset. An excellent strategy, I have used on many occasions from one of my wonderful mentor teacher’s many moons ago was by speaking out the following phrase.

“Is it burnt toast or a bushfire?”

Mind you, she was a Year 2 teacher working with 7 year olds, and she would help kids visualise this by holding up both her hands like a balancing scale. To frame it as a youth or adult, I kind of like to think of it like a reality check.

  • “If I was only going to cook quick and easy meals this week, would my family die of starvation?”
  • “If I get a credit for this grade, does that determine my whole future?”
  • “If I give in to my desire to eat this cake, will all my diet be totally ruined?”
  • “What if I was to miss the party on the weekend?”
  • “What if they will laugh at my performance?”

So if you are like me, a somewhat perfectionist. Give yourself a reality check and ask yourself an “If I…..?” or a “What if…?”  question. As David Allen so cleverly framed it “You can do anything, but not everything.” 

Thanks again for reading and to my wonderful family and friends who help keep my reality in check.

Susannah Morrison 🙂

Director: Functional Skills Focus

Please note this is purely my opinion and if there is any concern that perfectionism is impacting on your mental health and well being, consult the advice of a medical professional.




4 Responses so far.

  1. Janine says:

    This was great stuff to read and definitely a reality check
    Reminded me of a recent trip to Vietnam was pressured by someone ‘important’ to come down 50 steep steps with no rails to see his special farm. Well I travelled there over many flights, up and down steep escalators and many other physically challenging things. So I decided not to go down those steps it was more important to ensure I did not fall which was a 50% probability. I set my challenges, I set my boundaries that suit me. I have learnt as I get older I can do a lot but some things I cannot do, but don’t need to see myself as perfect

  2. FSFocus says:

    Thanks Janine! Pleasing others and saying yes to everything and everyone is what many of us aspire to do but yes, totally agree with you, we don’t need to be perfect and boundaries are our salvation. A keen reminder to me to make them clearer in my life. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. Delrae says:

    An excellent article indeed!! I think at times we all need to stop and smell the roses, pull ourselves up to see where WE are heading in life as an individual. As a natural therapist I have taken on modalities including meditation, a modality called Tapping (working on meridian points that we can do ourselves and often with help) personal growth work generally. I have come to the conclusion that we can work with what I refer to as THE SHADOW SIDE (an ongoing process) including OWNING OUR OWN TRUTH and not succumb to the expectations of others. And yes I agree with the response article that we don’t need to be perfect and setting boundaries is absolutely vital for our function….BEING TRUE TO OURSELVES!!……and if we slip up from time to time….thats OK too. We simply plough on!!

  4. FSFocus says:

    Thanks so much Delrae for taking the time to comment. Interesting theory on our shadow side, I’m going to look into that more as it makes a lot of sense, also being ok knowing we will slip up and life being a journey. Great advice!

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