The Paradox of Perfectionism

4 Apr 07

Stop being a perfectionist—just throw it out there and see what happens. It’s simple advice, but something that I’ve been ignoring for too long. Not every blog post will be your opus, not every design will be your masterpiece. Stressing over every detail and clinging onto the project until it’s “perfect” only constructs a barrier in your creative process.

Moreover, the perfectionist’s creative process is so tiresome that he or she will lose motivation fast. If each blog post takes three hours to be written, formatted, and thought-out perfectly, you’ll publish less often and you’ll discard a lot of ideas that could’ve been great. This is the paradox of perfectionism: your best work is produced when you’re not striving towards perfection. Being a perfectionist is so de-motivating that you’ll wind up producing less and never create the masterpiece that realizes your full creative potential.

Your best work is produced when you’re not striving towards perfection

This is not to say you should lower your standards towards quality. Just lower your resistance towards putting your work out there, even if it’s not fully realized. To that end, try to remove other barriers towards creating. Figure out what part of your process takes too long and find a way to reduce that time or cut it entirely. Then you’ve got more time to spend on the essential elements of a project, and you’re not too worn out to continue onto the next project.

Photo by brentbat under Creative Commons

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