So how can perfectionism be overcome? Here’s a few practical suggestions:
1. Learn to enjoy the journey
Rather than berate oneself or others for less than a perfect performance, recognize that life is a learning process. Enjoy each stage of the unfolding journey.
2. Cultivate “an attitude of gratitude
” Acknowledge and celebrate the small successes in yourself and others. Start a gratitude journal, keeping track of each day’s small achievements.
3. Develop realistic expectations
Recognize that every new capacity in yourself or someone else is going to take time to grow; and that even well-developed capacities are going to be better some days than others.
4. Learn to laugh
Humor can help you weather the disappointment of a less-than-perfect performance or situation.
5. Cherish the growth process over time
In yourself, your spouse, your child, your employee, or whoever you might be dealing with, enjoy the gradual unfolding of new capacities and strengths. Patiently cultivate these new strengths with praise, appreciation, and warm encouragement.
6. Finally – remember there’s no such thing as failure
Be patient with your less-than-stellar moments (and with those of others), knowing that these are the early learning experiences upon which your later successes are being built – one step at a time
Edison, after thousands of attempts to make a light bulb light, would say to himself and others, “I have not failed to produce electric light. I have simply been successful in identifying one more way NOT to light an electric light bulb.” Each unsuccessful attempt brought him one step closer to his desired result, his ultimate triumph – like a baby learning to walk, falling down many times first. Be patient with your less-than-stellar moments (and with those of others), knowing that these are the early learning experiences upon which your later successes are being built – one step at a time.