For me there has always been a simple answer to this question: No.
It turns out that I may be wrong! Read on…
I was recently reading about how you can break perfectionism into three different types, and here they are:
- Internal perfectionist: you have very high standards for yourself
- External perfectionist: you have very high standards for other people
- Social perfectionist: You perceive other people to have high expectations of you (regardless of what they think).
With this breakdown it becomes quite clear that I suffer from Social perfectionism. The idea that other people expect me to be a better person that I am is probably incredibly egotistical, but there you are. Now some people would quite rightly say that striving for perfection is no bad thing. But of course there are problems with setting the unreachable goal. There is the stress of never being good enough. There is the very real problem that having standards sitting at the level of perfection can actually result in complete paralysis. The unwillingness to do anything because it won’t be good enough. The planning and planning and planning of something without ever getting to the execution stage, because lets face it even the plan needs to be perfect.
In my case it can lead to a lack of participation, feeling a non-existent social pressure to be perfect will of course manifest in social situations. So performing, trying something daring or new (I’m thinking of Capoeira moves here) is out of the question because I’ll likely fail – at least the first few times, and in front of a load of people no less!!
So with this realization I feel I need to start a new resolution (never wait until new years for this kind of thing, it may be too far away!).
That resolution is simply this: Dare to fail.