The Perfection Trap

In the Merriam Webster dictionary the word perfection is described as “an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence.” Many people find themselves caught in this trap and instead of making progress; one can feel stuck, and unable to take the necessary steps that will lead to the successful completion of a project or task. I often get caught in the perfection trap myself and I can be unproductive for days, even weeks when I allow myself to get hooked. So whether you are cleaning out your den, designing a website, going though paperwork, cutting down on diet soda, trying to stick to a fitness routine or searching for a new job, don’t let yourself get hooked!

Living a successful and rewarding life is not about achieving an unsurpassable degree of excellence, but instead it is about learning to work with the imperfections in ourselves and in our life and discovering and making time for what truly is important and meaningful in our lives. When I feel my perfection tendencies surfacing, I remember these wise words that my yoga teacher shared with me recently from the little book “A Year Of Living Your Yoga” by Judith Hanson Lasater: We are seeking wholeness, not perfection.

Lasater advises that when you get caught in the perfection trap, go and find a wood floor and spend a minute looking at what could be called its imperfections, such as knots, irregular grain, and discolorations. Remember that these imperfections are what gives the floor its beauty and character; they make it real. Allow yourself to grow in wholeness, imperfections and all. Perfectionism can be an “internal barrier” that can block your progress. Try not to get hooked, but if you do, then go and look at the wooden floor in your living room or a wooden coffee table or walk outside and examine your deck closely.

The beauty and uniqueness of what we create can be found in our efforts and results, not in the inner turmoil that occurs when we try so hard to do things perfectly. Give yourself an opportunity to be creative, to explore and discover a new way of getting the important things done while at the same time keeping it realistic and true.


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