I have always aimed for perfection.It is a hard place to reach as the common definitions which are thrown around leave no room for failures.I had a rather skewed idea of how things had to be done.To me either I should become the best OR I should never try it (in the first place).That made me miss out on lot of other opportunities in my life. Only after I joined the workplace after my masters ,I started realizing the importance of “Learning curves”
There is a theory which suggests that any vocation if taken up for 10,000 hours leads to greatness.But we need the passion and creativity to start in the first place.Then when we put hours of practice into it we achieve the desired results.Each of our lives are unique and we need skills to tackle the obstacles which often come up.So trying to imitate others leads to disaster.Also we need role models who can suit our goals.We are wired to think only about rewards and success as the world appreciates only when we win.Rote learning and never acknowledging our failures also becomes a habit.That's one of the greatest differences I see between the Indian educational system and Western educational system.Many of my colleagues who had western education would boldly tell the instances they failed to deliver the results.They will be the first to announce that they "Don't Know".They see education as a process of trial and error.No wonder the western world has produced great innovators who continue to inspire and motivate others.
Perfection is a ideal which we can never reach.It is a obsession to be the best.Like Alexander we may conquer many goals but at the end,we may not have time to enjoy it.Whenever I get into this mode of trying to out perform, I think about the real important things in life.A win gives our ego a high ecstatic feeling,but like all other feelings it is transient.Trying to do the best in the present moment and keeping all our ego ambitions on our back burner will be the ideal solution.But to put this principle in practice is very difficult.My mind gets preoccupied with future and gets charged up trying to make plans to reach perfection.One of the ways which helped me immensely was to look at the bigger picture.When my mind gets obsessed with any goal...like admission into a PhD program for a Ivy league university....I remind myself how billions of people are without education.The better approach for dealing with the problem would include me being thankful for the opportunity I was given to further my education.
How to escape perfectionism?
By Peter Bergman