My Only Flaw Is That I Am a Perfectionist

I really enjoy when I ask someone (not necessarily during an interview) what is their greatest flaw and they answer: “I am a perfectionist!” They say it like it’s a curse that has taken over him/her and cannot be undone, at the same time trying to pull out something good as being bad and vice versa.

It’s like saying “The bride was beautiful, but rich!”


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Perfectionism is actually a method through which we put pressure on ourselves by having the illusion we are doing things in a perfect way, not necessarily that we are going to become perfect.

It’s normal to have high standards, to wish to achieve many things as good as we can. However, when the objectives are hard to reach or you need to put in an unreasonable amount of effort, perfectionism may have a negative impact.

The perfectionist’s attributes, with their good and bad sides:

  • You quickly notice when something is not as it should be and sometimes you are the only one who sees it. Sometimes the problems you see are real, other times imaginary;
  • You have an “all or nothing” approach and you may spend 4 hours on something that normally takes 30 minutes;
  • You over react on minor mistakes;
  • You get defensive when someone says something about your “masterpiece”;
  • The end result is what matters, the middle is not relevant;
  • No matter how good you perform, you are never satisfied, there is always something better to do;
  • You set unrealistic objectives;
  • You MUST always be ahead of everyone;
  • The bigger picture is not very clear, that’s why you spend a lot of time with insignificant details;
  • You cannot compromise;
  • You perform poorly at time and personal life management;
  • You often blame yourself when things aren’t “perfect”;
  • You are very demanding on yourself, but also on others, who generally don’t rise to the occasion;
  • You have depressive tendencies when things don’t go the way you want;
  • You have high standards which most of the times bring a high dose of stress;
  • You have an unique style and cannot accept deviations. If you say you need to walk on the left side, everyone has to walk on the left, you are inflexible;
  • No matter what you always find something that can be done better;
  • You don’t trust yourself because you haven’t reached perfection (yet);
  • You have a lot of chances to be a control freak and you hardly trust that anyone else can do things as good as you;
  • You correct others every chance you get;
  • Delegation is a big enemy;
  • You have a catastrophic thinking: What would people say if I screw up???”
  • You might overestimate yourself;
  • You want to achieve perfection on the first try, it doesn’t work and you end up doing the same thing over and over again;
  • You have big trouble in meeting deadlines;
  • Out of desire to attain the absolute supreme, you drag things along, so many times you end up not starting;
  • You are under the impression this article was written for you.

Being a perfectionist helps a lot in reaching objectives “your way”. In time, you realize that this comes along with a lot of side-effects and you have to clearly set priorities.

As a conclusion, I won’t recommend to be indifferent, but also not to go completely the other way. You should be able to make a difference between the good parts and bad parts of perfectionism, as one can find other approaches from “all or nothing”.

Good luck (im)perfectioning!

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