Sunday, 13 August 2006

Excellence vs Perfectionism

To listen to this article please click play.

There a chronic disease gripping thousands of individuals and it’s called perfectionism. People want to be perfect, look perfect and do everything perfectly.

Perfectionism may seem like a lofty ideal but in reality it is a crippling disease because perfect does not truly exist. However, because of our strong desire to be perfect we often never start projects or even simple tasks that we want to do or that we know need to get done.

One of my clients, who happens to be a very attractive young woman, once said to me that she felt that if she were perfect – in figure, professionally and domestically, in particular being the “perfect cook” that she would attract a suitable partner. We had a laugh about the latter. I asked her if any of the men coming to her door looked “starved out”. She admitted no and I pointed out that men already knew how to find food even if it was to get a takeaway or go back home to their mother. No offence guys!

The actress, Kate Beckinsale said recently:

“The airbrush was a diabolical invention. I long to see actresses as they really are, with wrinkles and blemishes.”

I appreciate that people naturally want to look their best but these airbrushed images that populate billboards, magazine covers, etc. perpetuate the “perfect look” and the illusion that we can look just like that. Probably, if we nip, tuck, suction, etc. enough at a tremendous cost not just financially but also emotionally.

Dr Maxwell Maltz, plastic surgeon and author of Psycho-cybernetics, discovered an interesting phenomenon. Basically, he found that no matter how we change our outer appearance, if we do not reconcile our inner being then we are never truly happy.

I’m not saying that everyone who alters their appearance superficially or otherwise has issues. But there are enough cases out there to illustrate the devastating consequences of what happens when individuals continue to “alter” themselves in their quest for the perfect body.

You see, when we strive for perfectionism we are never satisfied. One of my mentors, NLP Master Trainer, Dr Topher Morrison, shared that he had been working on his book for years but it was never quite right. He didn’t even have a title for the book. Then one day he realised that it was never going to be perfect in his eyes. He just needed to finish it. He did. He published it a short time ago and it is called “In Pursuit of Excellence”. Ahh!

Isn’t that the key? When we strive for excellence we still set ourselves a tough challenge but at least we haven’t set ourselves up for the mission impossible. We haven’t set ourselves to fail.

Now we can get on with those projects and tasks that we have been putting off and the important thing is simply to start. In many cases you will not even know how to complete the thing so how can you do it perfectly? Simply start, test and improve and strive for excellence.

Mike Litman (best-selling author of Conversations with Millionaires), said:

“You don’t have to get it RIGHT. You just have to get it GOING. After you get it GOING then get it RIGHT.”

All too often we go about things the opposite way. We wait for the perfect moment to start and of course that perfect moment never happens. Another day goes by with limited forward motion all because we let our fears stand in our way.

Internet Marketing guru, Stephen Pierce says it quite succinctly:

“Never let what you cannot do stop what you can do TODAY.”

If you strive for excellence vs perfectionism you will be happier, healthier and wealthier.

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