Many people, both young and old, struggle with perfectionism. Notice I said “struggle with,” not “strive for.” That’s because a desire to be perfect is not always healthy and certainly not something people should strive for.
Pursuing perfection typically focuses at looking for what’s WRONG. This can quickly put anyone in a negative state of mind.
Additionally, the desire for perfectionism often results in negative physical symptoms. For example, nail biting may arise from perfectionism. The driving force behind nail biting may not be a nervous habit but instead anxiety in the form of perfectionism. Mounting evidence shows that people who bite their nails, pick their skin, or pull their hair are often perfectionists. Their action is an attempt help … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Striving for perfection has plagued many people. Recently a parent wrote to me the following: “My oldest son is very good at math but resistant to practicing his language arts. The source of his problem seems to be that he feels he is not ‘the best’ or ‘perfect’ in this area. I explained to him that he needed to allow himself to learn using an example of how I would need to learn if I wanted to fly an airplane. While I will continue these efforts at home, I would like to also send him to a tutor who employs your techniques. Do you have a list of tutors or teachers who use your methods?”
My Response about Perfection
I … >>> READ MORE >>> →
Perfectionism and Stress
Perfection is a goal that humans should not strive to achieve because it can prompt a crippling condition or an overly critical self-evaluation.
A goal of excellence can be reached. But perfectionism, the striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high standards, is too often a burden.
A focus on perfection has opened pathways, for many young people in particular, to live with the idea that they have to be perfect for people to accept them—especially with young girls who develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
With young people as early as kindergarten age, perfectionism can become so tyrannical that they develop anxiety attacks. This leads to the thinking pattern that they cannot perform or engage in the activity … >>> READ MORE >>> →
When young people perform academic-type tasks and are corrected before obtaining feelings of empowerment or success, they become candidates for discouragement.
A friend of mine related an incident that occurred at the birthday party of his young daughter. After his daughter opened a present he had just given her, my friend asked, cajoled, and finally coerced his daughter into sharing her new toy with the other children. It is hard for a child to share or open to others that which the child does not yet “own.”
The same principle holds true in learning. Young people need to feel some degree of ownership or success in performing a task—or have a feeling that they are capable of it—before correction becomes … >>> READ MORE >>> →
REDUCING PERFECTIONISM (Conclusion)
Have the student choose two activities and anticipate the length of time he anticipates each activity will take. Then, set a timer. Let him know that he has enough control over himself to stop the first activity and start on the second. When the anticipated time for the first activity has expired, have him start on the second. At the end of the allotted time for the second activity, have him visit the first activity and determine how much more time still would be necessary for it to be of QUALITY work. The process is repeated for the other activity.
Next assignment: Have him outline a typical day in 15 minute blocks. After reviewing it, make the … >>> READ MORE >>> →
REDUCING PERFECTIONISM (Continued)
Give the student an assignment. Have him explain the following aphorism, “You cannot be perfect and learn at the same time.”
A few examples may help. (1) Have him assume that he is playing the piano and makes a false note. Ask him if he will conclude that he has no musical talent? (2) Have him assume he is playing baseball and strikes out. Ask him if he will assume that he has no athletic skills? (3) Have him assume that he misspells a word on a spelling test. Ask him if he will assume he has no writing skills?
Let him know that PERFECTIONISM is a burden no one is strong enough to carry without permanent … >>> READ MORE >>> →
I stumbled upon an article entitled, “Reducing Perfectionism,” and it was enlightening. I am a principal of two rural buildings and I often direct my teachers to articles and readings that will promote success in the classroom.
I was wondering if you had any ideas or strategies for a child we would like to help. His teacher is frustrated because he takes so very long to complete his work. He is very neat, precise and there is no issue with his learning. He is successful, but his tendency is to be perfect. It must look right, by his perception, before moving on; it’s this moving on that we need to trigger. I am open to any strategies that may … >>> READ MORE >>> →