Monday, August 4, 2014

Perfectionism--The Bane of my Life :(

We all love efficient workers,jobs well done--no flaws peeping,no loose ends dangling--perfect execution of any given task.But perfectionism ?Ahem,that needs more thinking.

I remember when I was in school we used to get three hours to solve a question paper of five questions.I used to take one and a half hour to solve the first question because I had to write a perfect beginning,mention all the salient points,recheck and finish with a flourish.Then I would look at my watch,gasp and start the second question which took another full hour,and that too,would be a pretty good answer.Half an hour left and three questions to be answered :( I could barely scratch a few lines for each one.The result? I could never (almost) go beyond the second division.This continued in my college life too.

Now,after having been a slave of perfectionism for umpteen years,I can pontificate upon it's drawbacks till I have bored you to tears but it is not as if I have gotten over it.If I am dusting, every object has to be picked up,the surface cleaned,the object wiped and then placed at it's designated spot.Doing this all over the house becomes so tiring that I am forced to overlook the dirt for a few days at least. Wouldn't it have been more pragmatic to just swish through the rooms on most days and save precious time and energy?Well,I am trying.

Rather late in the day,I have realized that perfectionism can be counter productive.Firstly it eats up a good part of my day as I run after inconsequential details following self imposed procedures.Then I feel dog-tired and have little stamina for other activities which too,are important.It makes me anxious,stressful and drained of energy because it is impossible to relax when a host of pending tasks are hovering over my head.The worst part is that I cannot lessen my burden by deputing jobs to others since nobody can do it the way I would want something done;so that I am always over-burdened with work.This gives me tremendous stress.I try to hurry up and tackle other issues but a lot is left untouched because of paucity of time.

The most essential me-time,when I could pursue my various hobbies or relax with a cup of tea and a good read is the worst sufferer.Even when I have made my tea just the way I relish it,I tarry in the kitchen to ensure nothing is left uncovered;the fan,cooler or AC has to be at the exact setting I want,there should be some music in the background and a good book at hand if I have to enjoy my tea perfectly.And by the time all this has been arranged my tea has gone ice cold.

Really this perfectionism can be self defeating at times.It often leads to procrastination because I will not take up something  till my stamina is at it's optimum and other conditions are conducive for perfect execution of a task.So there!

The worst fall-out of perfectionism is the effect it has on my family--they are often at the receiving end for being sloppy or disorganized.Going beyond the inner circle--socializing too--is not easy for the likes of me because we have fixed ideas about the kind of company and ambiance we desire.Moreover,to be honest,others too,must find us rigid and unbending.

Sometimes I fear that this habit of mine could transmute into OCD .Perfectionists are also vulnerable to quite a few diseases caused by the enormous burden they carry on their mind,body and souls.Therefore I am trying my best these days to be more lackadaisical and easygoing.There is a world of difference between being efficient,putting in your best,striving to raise the bar ; and being obsessed with unrealistic goals or sticking on to unproductive behavior.There are many spheres where good enough is good enough.


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Image courtesy google.

18 comments :

  1. Ah! I am a bit of a perfectionist myself - but I restrict myself to the best i CAN do within the time frame. Of course, i pick as few things to do as possible :)

    One fall-out of my own perfectionism is that I judge my own work by very high standards and, consequently, people take me for an humble person when I know I am no such thing :P

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    1. No wonder Suresh your posts are eminently readable.

      Have a nice day.

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  2. My husband is a perfectionist, but I am not. I know what you are saying Indu, too much perfection can be self defeating at times.

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    1. Alka it is the opposite in my case--individual differences are bound to be there when two persons from different backgrounds live close together.

      Here is a link to illustrate this thought--
      http://jeeteraho.blogspot.in/2012/09/making-marriage-work.html

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  3. Perfection is a good thing but as we grow in life it becomes important to multitask in a manner that may not be perfect but at least produces results :)

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    1. You are bang on Rahul--just what i feel.

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  4. """perfectionism can be self defeating at times."""
    Very true Indu.. Trying to be perfect is ok but we should not expect others to be perfect..:) Well written article :)

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  5. For me its a deadly combination. Its my mother in law and mom who are both perfectionists. They are good at what they do but sometimes I feel they just cant enjoy anything because of this addiction. Loved the perfectionists scale.

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    1. Both moms perfectionists?I wonder how you struggle to keep up with them :)
      I am happy to see you here Athena.

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  6. thank god I am not one , although I use to have a room mate who was one and it was struggle sometimes living in the same room with him :)

    Bikram's

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    1. Did he criticize or censure you Bikram?Yes they can be tiresome at times.

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  7. Stupid it may sound.There is no one who is perfect/perfectionist.
    Each one of us does our best to our capability and that is in my opinion the best.

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    1. Yes no one is perfect but the perfectionists think they are.

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  8. Very rightly shared, Induji.
    I try to be perfect but within my limits & as best I can manage! Living up to others ideas of perfection is tough! What is perfect for one, may not be for another!
    I feel- Perfection is also relative :)
    My professor used to joke-
    "Practice makes perfect.
    Nobody is perfect.
    So, why practice?!!!"

    Wishing you perfect days- the days just as you'd like them!
    Don't be too harsh on yourself. Relax :)

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    1. Very valid inputs about perfection Anita--you are a very sorted youngster.It is true that what is perfect for me might be spurious for someone else.
      Thanks for your lovely wishes,
      Love n hugs.

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  9. perfectionism is all about sticking to basic human morals,people don't have guts to be morally right all the time so they say none is perfect and people who are perfect are boring.whenever there is an issue ,they complain ,OH WHY I HAVE THIS PROBLEM,WHY MY SOCIETY IS RUDE WITH WOMEN,WHY MY COUNTRY IS CORRUPT,WHY PSYCHOTICS FIRE IN RANDOM AT SCHOOLS,WHY CIVILIANS GET KILLED IN WAR,WHY DO A PERSON CHEAT WIFE OR HUBBY,WHY DO INDIANS CHEAT IN EVERY ASPECT OF BUSINESS.

    a technical subject or technical skill is outcome or creation of team or a group of people work over years or over generations.same is with people behavior,its about whether you have inherited right behavior over generations from your ancestors or whether did you pursue your instinct in choosing career.

    perfection is about having your basics right and the person who has his/her basics right will define everything to perfection.

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    1. Interesting views--point noted Rohan.

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