Socrates Quote

If you’re looking for ways to be perfect – this post might not tell you what you want to hear. Constantly striving for perfection is one of the biggest mistakes we can make in life. You know why?

Because perfection doesn’t exist.

Here’s a newsflash for you – there’s no such thing as ‘perfection’. And so those who chase it, commit to a long life of unhappiness and disappointment. I believe there are a number of key reasons why we chase perfection and once we understand these it’s much easier to let it go. Let’s break it down.

Why do we chase perfection?

Why do we feel the ‘need’ to be perfect in the first place? I believe there’s a link between perfection and self worth. If we have a strong need to be perfect then we may suffer low self-esteem levels. Because being perfect is a way of making ourselves feel valuable.

If we were 100% happy with who we are, why would we need to be perfect? Or would we feel ‘perfect’ just the way we are? No changes, no improvements, no beating ourselves up. Just content with who we are. In my experience, people who have an obsession with being perfect tend to worry about what people think of them. They want the recognition of being ‘perfect.’ It’s just another way of gaining attention.

Are you living your life or someone elses?

The the problem is, when we are too busy worrying about what others think, we ignore our own inner voice and this can land us in all sorts of trouble. When we rely on other people’s opinions to guide us in life, it’s very easy to end up feeling frustrated and anxious because we end up living someone else’s life.  Instead of worrying about being perfect, we need to spend time understanding what we want in life so we can live a life that’s true to who we are.

Steve Jobs once once said:

“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I love this quote because it reminds us not to strive for perfection, but to strive for what’s truly important to us.

Do you know what perfection is costing you?

If perfection is something you long for, then you might want to stop for a moment and consider the consequences of this habit. Perfection can cost us time and money – have you ever started a project and procrastinated for weeks, months, years, because it wasn’t ready yet? You know what? It will never be 100% ready.

Sometimes we just need to start things and fix them up along the way. The most successful entrepreneurs know this secret and instead of committing to ‘perfection’ they commit to ‘taking action’. Perfection can actually ‘stop’ you from making things happen because ultimately you get paralyzed by fearfear of failure.

It doesn’t matter if things are not perfect, remember this –  failure is a pre-requisite for success.  If you’re not failing enough then you’re not on the road to success. So the sooner you embrace your imperfections and you realize that these very imperfections are a part of your journey to success, the sooner you’ll be happy and content and successful in life.

I have a simple strategy for eliminating perfection and this is it:

Replace perfection with contentment

Imagine if we could replace our constant ‘striving for perfection’ and ‘frustration with not being perfect’ with ‘contentment’. Imagine how much happier and relaxed we would be. And when I say ‘contentment’ I don’t’ mean inaction. We still need to take action to make things happen in our lives, but we don’t need to do it in a way that is forced, or rushed or obsessively perfect.

Have a go and next time you’re chasing perfection, take a step back, realize that you’re already perfect and sit back and enjoy the relaxed feeling of being content with where you’re at.

Simple Life Strategy: How to Stop Chasing Perfection

1. Understand that perfection is not a viable goal. It doesn’t exist! So why bother chasing something that is not real?

2. Stop worrying about what other people think of you – the only opinion that matters is yours. Learn to value your own opinion.

3. Change the way you view ‘failure’. Remember that failure is a pre-requisite for success. So learn to embrace failure and you will stop being so worried about ‘being perfect’.

4. Start to listen to your own inner voice and take the time to find out what’s truly important to you – as Steve Jobs said: “Your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life”.

5. Replace ‘perfection’ with contentment. Know that you’re already perfect and choose to be happy with where you’re at.

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