Tag Archives: encouraging

Speak Kindly

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Excellence vs. Perfection

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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.”