You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be the best you.

You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be the best you.

by Pamela Ng 14 Feb 2020

Everyone wants to be perfect, whether is it for self-fulfilment or for the sake for saving face and dignity. After all, how great would it feel to have someone praise you and reaffirm your talent or intelligence? Striving for greatness is commendable, but you should be mindful that this does not equate to being perfect. Unless it has something to do with numerical equations, perfection will never truly be attainable. Here is why you should do your best and seek continual improvement instead of restricting yourself to a single perfect standard:



1. Risk of lowered productivity

The desire to produce the perfect piece of work is understandable, but pursuing it endlessly can cause us to put excessive focus on one aspect of it at the expense of others, compromising the integrity of the project as a whole. When that’s discovered, additional time and resources has to be diverted to salvage the situation, which ends up pushing things further back.


Instead of striving relentlessly for perfection, we should use that focus to look at the bigger picture and seek improvements that would make our work and our approach to it more well-balanced.


2. Reduced learning opportunities

The idealism of perfection can sometimes earn you accolades from others. While this can certainly be a confidence-booster, it can also lead to people not imparting their knowledge to you. This isn’t due to selfish tendencies, but because they think you’re just too darn good! A larger ego may also prevent you from asking questions and taking risks, hindering self-development and putting your development at a standstill.


Suppress your perfectionistic urges and show people that you are trying your best instead of trying to be perfect. Being genuine not only makes you more relatable to others, but also makes it easier for them to appreciate your authenticity and help you in your journey of self-growth.


3. Mental and emotional weight

The pursuit for perfection is difficult and success is never guaranteed. Your self-esteem may drop if you fail to meet certain expectations. You may also develop a competitive streak that may not bode well with others, which can lead to animosity and even alienation in the workplace.


Here’s a suggestion: learn to let go. It is impossible to be faultless. Humans are programmed in such a way to make mistakes and learn from them. Without failure, one can never progress towards appreciating true success.


4. Lack of empathy

Perfectionism can sometimes lead to lack of empathy. You may think a task is simple but when someone else fails to do it or do it well enough, tempers can flare, leading to possible disputes between you and the other party. This not only destroys potential friendships, but also demonstrates to others a sense of elitism that can be rather off-putting.


Understand that everyone has different talents and strengths. Belittling someone reveals nothing of that person, but everything about you. Unless you possess the abilities of clairvoyance, you’d never know for sure who is truly capable of what. Empathising with others will not only make you more socially approachable, but also a little kinder along the way.


Aiming to be better and aiming to be perfect is different. Perfectionism doesn’t bring happiness, and even if it does, the happiness is often fleeting. How long before someone else turns out to be better than you? Instead, learn to let go and make peace with the fact that you are not flawless – nobody is. You don’t have to perfect; you just need to be your best version of yourself. The self that is willing to give everything its best shot, whether it concerns friendships, relationships, or work, is the one you can truly be proud of.