Over the past few days I’ve found myself attending my sister’s graduation ceremonies from UCLA, where exceptional students were recognized for their outstanding achievements and seemingly perfect grades.
As one student was recognized for establishing not one but two charity organizations and completing his degrees with close to perfect grades, I could hear the audience murmur in awe at his achievements yet others seemed discouraged in comparison. They looked a bit like this.
I also felt somewhat discouraged after hearing all his amazing accomplishments, yet at the same time I was proud of him for doing so. There are so many interesting individuals out there who are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone and try to accomplish wonderful and altruist achievements.
What I found most interesting of the many ceremonies was one of the speakers who, in a way, seemed to sympathize with the audience. Unlike the typical speaker who droned on and on about his accomplishments, he remained humble and instead spoke of all the times he tried and failed and tried and failed and failed and failed until finally he succeeded.
And I agree. In life we will not always succeed right off the bat, we will find ourselves in countless mistakes and will find ourselves in situations that seem to have endless possibilities. With so many options, how can we not become somewhat discouraged when the future seems so distant?
However, he helped me understand that it is perfectly fine to fail every once in a while as long as we keep the courage to move forward and try to find a new way toward our success.
Kim Collins once advised that we should “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.”
Unfortunately, this is the point where the finish line towards improvement and perfection seems to blur and we find our selves stopped still close to the beginning afraid to move forward due to the pressures to achieve perfection.
We are encouraged to succeed, find happiness, have fun, and enjoy life while still doing altruistic activities and also earning an outstanding grade point average.
To an extent this is perfectly realistic. We should always try to improve and learn from our mistakes. Many times perfection is not realistic and it is even more unrealistic to believe that we can obtain success immediately.
I often succumb to the pressures of society and I’m easily frustrated with myself when I cannot seem to find out how to find the perfect result. I feel that I am constantly not “good enough” when I cannot seem to reach my unrealistic standards. When I fail at completing my unrealistic standards I’m disappointed; I feel worthless. I can’t help these overwhelming emotions that accompany these standards, just as many others do as well.
Although we may not be capable of stopping these emotions, we can help to improve as a society. We can all take something from the speaker who said that it is okay to fail. It is perfectly okay to not always be the best. As long as we try to improve ourselves and the world we live in, it’s okay to fail before we finally find the success we all long for.
I will continue to feel overwhelmed when I can’t reach perfection, but that’s just something I can improve on. I will definitely try to not continue to feel worthless after failing. Everyone can make a difference in the world. By accepting the fact that sometimes you many not find the results quickly, you are making a difference when you encourage yourself to keep going.
As you continue to read other articles, I encourage you to find a way that you can contribute to your community. Instead of comparing myself to others and feeling discouraged, I will turn around my perspective and move forward for myself.
I may not start making a difference right off the bat, but if we all come together and support each other we can achieve wonderful things.
If you or someone you know feels discouraged, support them and support yourself. You will find a way eventually. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, go out and celebrate the beautiful aspects in life and ignore the negative pressures of society. You are beautiful and capable of wonderful things. Keep a positive mind and don’t give up. Fight until you have finally found what you are looking for no matter how impossible it may seem.
If you would like to share some ideas you are planning on pursuing share them with your friends and family or even a stranger. Encourage yourself and others towards a positive future to make the community a better place.
Written By: Madeleine Britt
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3 thoughts on “Why We Really Don’t Need Perfectionism”
I’ve found ‘Fabic’ Understanding and changing behaviour on Facebook a super site to check out for information about understanding and handling perfectionism. There are also some posts on Youtube that are really supportive and sure helped me understand what was going on. There’s an online workshop tomorrow Sept 27 if anyone is interested https://www.fabic.com.au/workshops-presentations/events/perfectionism-it-holding-us-back-online-workshop-september-2015
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