6 Disadvantages of Perfectionism


On the surface, perfectionism seems to be something worth pursuing. After all, many of the successful businessmen, singers, celebrities and athletes are self-confessed perfectionists.

Perfectionists are overachievers who are motivated by visionary goals. They push themselves to be the best they can be, thus achieving results that were previously thought impossible. Such people have the fortitude to keep on moving forward despite the obstacles along the way. Perfectionists also have a sharp eye for detail, thus ensuring that no mistake goes unnoticed. Due to their achievements, they are usually a source of inspiration for the people around them.  

However, despite all these advantages, perfectionism also has some downsides.

1. Procrastination

Perfectionists are likely to put off tackling tasks and projects because they are waiting for the right context, time and solution. They usually make a task appear more complex than it actually is and thus get intimidated. Their unrealistic expectations about the end results could even make the task appear impossible to achieve. Perfectionists might, therefore, end up putting off tasks constantly or avoiding them altogether.  

2. Low productivity

When perfectionists undertake a task or project, they have a tendency to give too much attention to every detail. This includes even those details which are not very important. As a result, they end up spending too much time on a single project, thus resulting in low productivity. Also, being too fussy about details will turn you into a workaholic, which will make you even less productive in the long run.

3. Stagnation

One of the ironic disadvantages of perfectionism is stagnation. Perfectionists usually have a specific way of doing things which they deem as the best. They assume that they know everything and are therefore unwilling to embrace input from other people. This denies them the opportunity of being exposed to new situations and ideas they would have learned from, thus resulting in stagnation


4. Poor health

Perfectionists are usually workaholics who will not stop until they achieve the result they desire. They constantly sacrifice recreation, food and sleep for the sake of work. In addition, they are always worrying about what could go wrong and whether they will achieve their desired outcome. As a result, perfectionists are likely to experience poor physical and mental health, which further hinders their productivity.

5. Poor relationships

If you are a perfectionist, you might find yourself putting pressure on the people around you to measure up to your standards. However, your inflexibility and rigidity will only end up pushing other people away. They will find it hard to connect with you since you don’t listen to their ideas or appreciate their efforts. Your unrealistic expectations will lead to sub-optimal relationships with your spouse, children, friends, peers or workmates.  

6. Short sightedness

Perfectionists are usually so obsessed by the little details that they end up missing the bigger picture. They find themselves more concerned with the end result rather than the process. For instance, if you are a manager, you might be more concerned about meeting your targets than developing the potential of your employees. Being shortsighted limits your potential and prevents you from being a visionary leader.

If you are a perfectionist, the good news is that you can turn things around and overcome the downsides mentioned above. All it takes is self-awareness and a determination to make the necessary changes.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you think you suffer from any of the problems mentioned above? Your thoughts and comments below...