Perfection and Motivation

Perfectionism and motivation go together. However, it doesn’t always work well together. Perfectionism is generally viewed as a positive quality that increases your chances of success, even though it can lead to self-defeating attitudes or behaviors that make it harder to achieve goals. It could lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. To understand the correlation between perfection and motivation, let’s dive deep.

What is Perfectionism?

A perfectionist is someone who strives for perfection. Usually, this is accomplished via focusing on one’s flaws, trying to control one’s environment, working hard, or being critical of oneself or others. Perfectionists hold themselves to exceptionally high standards. They think that nothing they do is ever good enough. Perfectionism is not a helpful motivator. Contrary to what some people mistakenly believe.

Perfection and Motivation

Perfectionism can destroy your motivation. Both adults and kids can be impacted by perfectionism. Children and teenagers are usually under pressure to achieve above-average academic and extracurricular goals. This could lead to an obsession with success. In the end, it can stop you from reaching your goal.

A relentless striving for perfectionism might deplete your motivation. Continue reading to find out how. 

Types Of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is said to come in a variety of forms. These types frequently have different goals, even though they act similarly.

Socially-prescribed Perfectionists

Perfectionists are particularly hard on themselves because they adhere to social norms. They face a lot of pressure to do well and worry about rejection from others. Anxiety and low confidence might result from perceived external standards, family, workplace culture, society, etc.

Self-oriented Perfectionism

Among different types of perfectionists, self-oriented perfectionists have high standards, a drive to be perfect, and an expectation of perfection. Self-oriented perfectionists usually exhibit an affiliative humor style or the desire to connect emotionally and socially with others. Studies reveal a connection between perfectionism, social advancement, closeness, and generous behavior. Additionally,   self-oriented perfectionism and academic motivation promote one another. 

Other-oriented Perfectionism

Other-oriented perfectionists are severely critical of individuals who don’t live up to their high expectations of others. It is argued that perfectionists are cruel, authoritarian, and lack empathy when they put the needs of others before their own. They frequently ridicule others and criticize them for showing their unhappiness.

Consequences Of Being A Perfectionist

Achieving a particular perfection level can have positive and negative motivational effects. The perfectionist could not be satisfied and happy with the results, leading to tension or guilt since they feel they could have done a better job. Unrealistic performance evaluations can cause a variety of future dysfunctional behaviors, even in the behaviors of dysfunctional perfectionist strivings.

Lack Of Motivation

Perfectionism and a lack of motivation go hand in hand. A person who demands perfection could never try new behaviors or learn new abilities because they believe they will never be able to do something well enough. Occasionally, they may begin the recent activity but give up too soon because they think they will fail.

Low Self-Esteem

Perfectionist behavior is not simply a symptom of low self-esteem but also a contributing factor. Because a perfectionist never feels good enough about himself or his performance, a perfectionist frequently feels defeated or unsuccessful.

Anxiety and Depression

Perfectionism can cause anxiety and depression. When you don’t live up to the lofty standards, you set for yourself, stress and anxiety rise, and you can even go through a period of depression. Some people hide their depression and anxious feelings because they strive for emotional perfection.

Lower Productivity

One of the consequences of perfectionism is procrastination. Because they require that everything be planned and done a certain way, you might conclude that perfectionists are overachievers. This method of thinking, however, decreases productivity. Stress and vulnerability consequently rise. 

How To Overcome Perfectionism? 

If you tend toward perfectionism, work to overcome it to become a non-perfectionistic high achiever. 

Here are some essential actions you may take to keep a positive outlook. 

Take little steps

Perfectionists frequently set a high bar for themselves and see little potential for growth. The fact that these objectives are so rigidly demanding and provide little opportunity for error can occasionally lead to issues. They frequently lack reality as well. Instead, by just changing your goals, you can significantly lessen stress. While you don’t have to give up on the final product, if you provide small benefits for completing each task, you’ll be more likely to overlook issues.

Focus on the Positive

If you struggle with perfectionism, you probably can find mistakes in even your most incredible work and those of others. Even though fighting this tendency could be difficult, you can make it simpler by deliberately highlighting your own and other people’s achievements. Look for four additional good traits if you find one you don’t like about yourself or your employer. You’ll have a balanced critical concentration, establishing a beneficial new habit. 

Learn to Handle Criticism

An attitude change can be beneficial if you frequently see criticism as an assault and react defensively by offering you insightful, constructive criticism that can help you learn how to improve your performance. If your objection is scathing or harsh, it’s acceptable to let others know and remind yourself that mistakes are a great way to learn.

Bottom Line

You can start to alter your behavior after you become aware of how you hold yourself to a standard of perfection. You may eventually suffer less if you follow advice like this. A perfectionist will probably want a perfect result immediately if they try to overcome it, but taking baby steps is needed.


How do you motivate a perfectionist?

To motivate a perfectionist, you can: 

Try to convince a perfectionist to show you a draught of their work. Moreover, because they keep employing the same tactics, even after they cease working or aren’t effective in a given situation, perfectionists can sometimes become stuck. In this instance, appreciate the person’s effort.

Why is perfection so important?

Perfectionism is essential since it increases motivation in anything a person does. For instance, a perfectionist might exert tremendous effort and put in more hours at work. Perfectionists would like to go the extra mile with whatever they do.

Can perfectionism cause laziness?

Procrastination is one of the most significant productivity barriers that perfectionists build. While procrastination is frequently mistaken for simple laziness, it can also result from perfectionism.

What can perfection lead to?

Perfectionism can lead to a negative attitude about life. It may result in eating disorders, self-harm, sadness, and anxiety. It can eventually cause you to give up on striving to be successful. Even minor cases can compromise your quality of life and impact your social interactions, career, or education.

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