Is perfectionism a good thing? Or a bad thing?
Like many things in life, it depends.
If you are an “adaptive perfectionist,” you have very high standards in key areas and you frequently meet them. When you don’t meet your own standards (and being a perfectionist means sometimes you won’t), adaptive perfectionists do not go into a funk, they simply try again, harder, smarter, or better. Furthermore, the adaptive perfectionist understands that no one can be 360 degrees perfect.
Adaptive perfectionists pick and chose where they direct their “perfectionist energy”: the surgeon who strives for perfection in the operating room may be perfectly content at just being good at weekend tennis.
Adaptive perfectionists often achieve incredible things and inspire (or drive) others to do so as well. The key is to not let perfectionist tendencies run amok. Perfectionism, like hot fires and sharp knives, is simply a tool that can either serve or destroy depending on how it is used, directed, controlled, and focused.
“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” – Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple”
“There is such a thing as perfection…and our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth.” – Richard Bach, author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”