Using Perfectionism as a Fuel

Perfectionism is both a blessing and a curse, as cliche as that may sound. It can be the source of your motivation to concur the world, but it can also be the enormous boulder, obstructing your path and your visions.

Perfectionism can define laziness or it can define diligence, it all depends on what kind of responsibilities you divulge to it.

As a perfectionist, I’ve experienced both sides of this stick. Perfectionism was once a valid excuse for me to avoid something, or once starting it, quickly give up. I found it easier to drop a task rather than perform poorly, which would lead me to question my intelligence and skill.

We need to remember that we are not inherently good at everything. Skill is built, intelligence is learnt and being a perfectionist will allow you to reach these destinations if you prevent it from dragging you down.

It is very common for a perfectionist to put off a task in fear of not being great at it. But we should not allow it to act as a brake, for perfectionism to be beneficial we must treat it as a fuel that allows us to reach our highest acceleration.

A very special person once told me:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly”

Zig Ziglar

That quote has always stuck with me because it is a reminder that it’s better to try than to not do something at all. Something is always better than nothing, no matter what the results may be. This can apply to anything from exercising to university study.

Procrastination, dissatisfaction and stress are all too familiar feelings that constantly plague perfectionists. Procrastination can be fought by repeating this simple quote to yourself. A technique I also often use is to count down from 5 to 1, and when reaching 1, starting whatever it is you need to do. Thinking about the satisfaction you will face in crossing one thing off of your to-do list will also aid in motivating you to start your task.

Dissatisfaction is another factor that can be difficult to deal with. Ensuring your to-do lists are doable, not too long, and diverse can assist in feeling more content after a day’s work. Fulfilling tasks in different types of areas (such as study, work, cleaning, something creative), can help to breed a sense of accomplishment.

Stress can, at times, be overbearing. Meditation and journalling have been a successful way of combating these feelings. Meditation allows you to focus on yourself and being mindful, while journalling provides a space for you to reveal your thoughts and analyse them. Writing down how you feel can often highlight how ridiculous your worries are in the present moment. Remember to constantly remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can.

Obviously, I am not a health professional, and those who suffer more severe bouts of perfectionism may need to seek help, but as a perfectionist I thought I would share some methods that have helped me overcome the paralysing effects, at least somewhat.

Remember that we are the masters of our minds, not the backseat drivers. Choose to get up and help yourself. Choose to just start and choose to use your perfectionism as a fuel.


Natasha Schapova
AAM content writer


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