Have you ever been called perfectionist? Or... have you ever been accused of perfectionism?
Just a few days ago I heard that I was a perfectionist. I am not sure if my friend (for the purpose of this article let's call her Kate) wanted to praise me or warn me. To understand what she meant, I decided to explore what is wrong with the infamous perfectionism in recent years. What does it actually mean to be perfectionist and if this is a bad quality or not?
Searching for information...
I started by searching for the definition in google 💻.
According to Wikipedia:
"Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by a person's striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations."
Wikipedia treated this topic quite kindly. Article is quite long, but ... I decided to search for more.
I was quite amazed with the results of my search.
Results in a nutshell:
- The perfectionist strives to achieve extremely high standards to avoid criticism.
- You never feel good enough at what you do.
- You become obsessed that everything you do is not enough.
- It takes joy from your life.
- Your success is measured by the approval of others.
- Paradoxically, perfectionism causes you to do little or no and the plan still remains a plan, simply because you want it to be perfect.
- It is a kind of defense system that starts when you do not have the courage to show yourself and what you have created.
Now I realized something 🙂
I realized that Kate didn't mean everything I listed above, when she told me that I am a perfectionist.
But my stubborn nature wanted to continue the searching... for more infomation in this area. I started to searching the less frequented corners of the internet (don't worry, I didn't go "underground", everything was legal 🙂) . I just browse other pages from google search, not only the first one.
I found something interesting.
Perfectionism vs Professionalism
When projects and tasks bring joy and motivate to train their own skills we are dealing with healthy perfectionism otherwise known as professionalism.
A professional thinks:
- I will raise the standard.
- I will take care of certain area of my work.
- I will broaden my competences.
- I haven't done it well enough, but now there is no time for corrections, I am learning.
- I improve work by training, constantly developing.
It is a healthy and productive approach to your work. ✔
The professional knows that we are different and he does not have to please everyone in what he does.
A few years ago ...
A few years ago I started to learn programming. I picked Java as my first programming language. I failed, because I gave up after few months of struggling. The progress was too slow for me and I made too much mistakes along the way (yes, I know, that was only my opinion).
Back then, if I set the bar a little lower, I would try to reach the goal in smaller steps, probably I would be a solid developer now. Fortunately, I draw conclusions from stumbles accurately and thanks to this my career is gaining momentum.
I'd like to share with you a sentence that my coding mentor once said:
It's not about creating poor quality code, the best results are achieved by programmers who know where and when quality is needed and when it is not.
Questions for you
I have two questions for you:
- What do you think, are you closer to a perfectionist or a professional?
- Have you ever had a problem with the bar set too high?