Friday, 4 July 2014

How to overcome perfectionism. The way to minimize stress and worry. Why you should be focusing on your strengths. Rationality is the key to peace of mind

The opposite of perfectionism is tolerance, the virtue of eliminating irrational demands and accepting a blemished reality. Tolerance brings openness and flexibility. Instead of expecting perfection, a wise man takes continuous steps to improve his results. When he is sailing, he watches the weather without getting angry at the changing wind because he knows that he can correct the course of his ship as often as he needs.

How to overcome perfectionism

A good mental exercise against perfectionism is to imagine what you will do if your current projects fail catastrophically. How would you feel if, after working on a major sale for three months, the transaction fails to take place at the last minute due to a factor that you had not foreseen?

The irrational response would be to fall into depression and self-recrimination. A more realistic and practical approach would lead to accept that your expectations may have been exaggerated in the first place. What will be the lesson for the future? A deal should be considered closed only when a contract has been signed.

Don't stop pushing before you cross the end-line, but at the same time, strive to maintain your serenity. Do not rely on half-cooked plans and always have a back-up solution. Do things fast and check them long. Take reasonable precautions, but leave perfectionism to the obsessed.

The way to minimize stress and worry

Preventive action helps minimize preoccupation and might save you a fortune down the road. Spread your bets, whether private or professional, and never place all your hopes on a single event that might or might not happen.

Do work in an organized and persistent manner, but at a certain point, stop worrying about results. Sometimes, things just don't work. Pushing beyond reasonable limits only makes bad situations worse.

All resources are limited, including your emotional resources. Set clear priorities and do not overextend yourself. Write down your plans, as well as your alternatives in case of failure. Buy insurance against major risks instead of trusting your luck. A flawless world does not exist. Sooner or later, bad things happen.

Learn to judge events and people sensibly and do not overreact to problems. The search for perfection is a delusion that wastes energy and obscures facts. Most things do not matter much in the long term. Rationality, although seldom easy, is the only practical response to adversity.

Abandon unrealistic expectations and adopt a tolerant view of people and events. Strive to see things as they are, unpolluted by false ideals, and your self-confidence will increase. Perfectionism does not work because it ignores the crucial role that patience and persistence play in achievement.

Why you should be focusing on your strengths

All learning begins with openness and curiosity. Rigid expectations of impossible success prevent self-knowledge and lead to anxiety. Focus on your strengths, not on what other people are doing. Define what is important for you without using statistics as guidance. Your values will tell you where to concentrate your resources.

Mistakes come in all sorts and colours. Learn to view them as stepping-stones leading you to a higher plateau. Accept errors and use them to your advantage. If you go with the flow, there is no limit how far you can row. Abandon perfectionism right now.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living

Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image by nattu under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us