I have always believed perfectionism was a good thing and that we must strive to be perfect in everything we do. I have discovered that perfection is not attainable and that no one is perfect (except for our Creator). Life can be very frustrating for a perfectionist. I know, because I am a recovering perfectionist. Before, I wanted my life to be perfect, but now, my goal is to be happy. I continue to learn to be the best I can be and achieve what I can at the highest level possible (excellence) which is good enough for me! Psychologist Thomas Greenspon quoted the following differences between excellence and perfectionism in his book, “Moving Past Perfect:”
- “Excellence is risk. Perfection is fear.
- Excellence is effort. Perfection is anger and frustration.
- Excellence is openness to being wrong. Perfection is having to be right.
- Excellence is spontaneity. Perfection is control.
- Excellence is flow. Perfectionism is pressure.
- Excellence is confidence. Perfectionism is doubt.
- Excellence is a journey. Perfectionism is destination.
- Excellence is acceptance. Perfectionism is judgement.
- Excellence is encouraging. Perfection is criticizing.”
Here are a few more to consider that I’ve read elsewhere:
- Excellence is surrender. Perfectionism is consuming.
- Excellence is trust. Perfection is selfishness.
Dr. Greenspon also stated, “Perfectionism does not determine success — talent, energy, and commitment do. Perfectionists are successful despite their perfectionism — not because of it.”
Positive thinking is when we have faith and trust in the guiding hand of the universe. Faith is belief not based on proof. Confidence, self-assurance, and certainty is having faith. Faith is when we allow everything to unfold exactly the way it should. It’s not about everything turning out the way we want it to. It’s about accepting things no matter how it turns out. When there is absence of fear and doubt, and when we let go of resistance and control, we can learn to trust and have faith.