Do you have days where you just don’t feel like you are ‘good enough’? It doesn’t matter what it pertains to—maybe you missed a typo on a critical report, or didn’t quite make a deadline, or forgot to refill the water in the coffeepot. Big or small, these things tend to weigh us down.

If you are trying to achieve perfection, you will always be unhappy because no one can be perfect a hundred percent of the time. But that’s a good thing.

It’s Hard When We Are Blasted With Perfection All The Time

If you watch TV or use any kind of social media, you probably see perfect faces all the time. But these men and women are graced with more than good looks and DNA, they have technology to make them look flawless. No one can compete with the smooth, unblemished perfection of photo manipulation. Perfect looks, perfect work performance, perfect home life. These things don’t exist for real people.

Moderate perfectionism is typically associated with success, but when it becomes elevated, it delves into the realm of psychiatric disorders. Perfectionists are at higher risk of eating disorders, depression, and anxiety disorders.

Perfectionism has even been associated with early death. There is hope, however, as researchers have shown that cognitive behaviour therapy can lead to a decrease in perfectionism and the associated symptoms (Kothari, 2016).

But I’m Not That Bad, It’s Just Some Things

You may scoff and protest that you aren’t THAT bad. Just because every paperclip is lined up neatly doesn’t mean you are a perfectionist, right? While it can manifest in many ways, the perfectionist mentally can slowly creep up on you. It may start with a perfect row of paperclips and snowball from there, leaving you at risk for eating disorders, anxiety, and premature death.

We Cannot Ever Achieve The Perfection We Seek

It’s part of what makes us human. The flaws and imperfections make us each unique, and beautiful. You have so much to offer, and it won’t matter in a year if your hair wasn’t perfect or if the font wasn’t just right.

Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it. 

Salvador Dali

While most people aren’t full-blown perfectionists, it’s hard to find someone that doesn’t seek perfection for some aspect of their lives. You have to confront these behaviours.

Yes, it’s important to do a good job and to try your best, but you have to be realistic. Retrain your brain to focus on the positive, and stop nit-picking and looking for things that aren’t exactly how you want them to be.

The i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology can assist you in developing the right attitude, which gives and encourage you to create new neuronal connections that can build on your capacity to create and innovate.

Learn to recognise the difference between wanting to improve yourself and striving for perfection. You’ll be a lot happier and maybe even live a little longer.

Kothari, R., Egan, S., Wade, T., Andersson, G., & Shafran, R. (2016). Overcoming Perfectionism: Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial of an Internet-Based Guided Self-Help Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Intervention. JMIR Research Protocols, 5(4), e215.

Originally posted on: 12 October 2017
Last updated on: 18 February 2024

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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