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Quality vs. Perfectionism

Perfection is the enemy of the good.” —Voltaire

I am sometimes a perfectionist. That’s no good. You might think that perfect is best. It is not.

Are you at times a perfectionist? How’s that working for you? When you get in the zone and you’re firing on all cylinders and working like a mad man/woman, you got the project in the can…well you thought, but there are some minor details, little tweaks that NEED to be made. How are your relationships affected when you are in this mode?

I’m just asking, because I’ve been there. And I know how limiting this state of being can be in those relationships most important to us.

But aren’t we supposed to bring our very best? Aren’t we to strive toward excellence? Is our work not to be quality?

Gary Molander, in his book, says

Perfect is a myth…Our lives are excellent. But they’re not perfect. Excellence requires that we take all of the ability given to us, and intersect that with all of the resources at our disposal. And we create from that exact intersection.”

Our best is good enough. As soon as those most dear to us go from supporting us to putting up with us, we’ve probably crossed the line into perfectionism.

Dr. Taylor Hartman sums this up wonderfully and arrives at the heart of the issue when he says

“[People] often ask me why [perfectionism] is a negative trait. The answer lies in the motive that drive perfectionism. Insecurity drives perfectionism, while quality originates from a legitimate valuing of excellence. The derivation of perfectionism and quality are exact opposites.”

Have you struggled with this tension? How do you know when you’ve wandered from quality into the wilderness of perfectionism?

Cited: Gary Molander “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art” and Dr. Taylor Hartman “The People Code”

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