When people ask what I do for a living, I reply, “I am the C.R.P. of ThisTimeIMeanIt.com.”
When further prompted what that stands for, I explain, “Chief Recovering Perfectionist.” Although I obviously chose that title to be playful, there’s an important reality at play.
We’ve all had periods where we felt we are settling for less than we could be. We’re disappointed, not only with “the way things are,” but also more importantly, with ourselves. It is only out of such frustration that action is born. After all, no one wakes up one morning and says, “Wow! I love my life, let’s see how I can change it.” We change because we’re unhappy, often proclaiming,
“TODAY will be my new dawn, my Genesis, my new beginning. TODAY is day one of the perfect new me; I’ll finish everything on my assignment list; I’ll clean the house; I’ll be the perfect spouse with the perfect attitude. I’ll be perfect on my diet and my budget; I’ll even find time to exercise. TODAY will be perfect.”
As exciting as that sounds in theory, the reality is when we then analyze the line-up of everything necessary to achieve such high standards, we grasp how much work it’s going to take and rationalize that we can always start TOMORROW; putting it off, choosing to accomplish nothing rather than something.
Aiming for perfection is not only a barrier to getting things done; it’s an excuse to avoid attempting them.
After all, if my definition of success is to accomplish EVERYTHING — and logically I know that’s not going to happen — why even bother? I mean why attempt something I know I won’t accomplish? As the bumper sticker I saw in college said, “Flunk now, avoid the June rush.”
With that as preamble, there is a real-world example of how perfectionism is preventing societal improvement, and, in my opinion, causing future agony on yet unknown victims.