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Is Perfection Holding You Back?

Those who adopt an optimalist attitude are often more productive and feel greater satisfaction and happiness in life vs. their perfectionist counterparts.

Having goals can be an important component of growth and success. However, when we strive towards perfection and ignore balance, we may be limiting our progress.

Perfectionism can be more of a hindrance than an aid when it comes to overcoming challenges. Respected educator and positive psychology expert Tal Ben-Shahar suggests that by shifting mentality from perfectionism to optimalism we can be more flexible, resilient and effective in the pursuit of our goals.

The Perfectionist

  • Rejects failure
  • Focuses solely on the destination
  • Sees a straight path to the destination
  • Rigid and static
  • All-or-nothing thinking

The Optimalist

  • Learns from failure
  • Focuses on the journey and the destination
  • Recognizes that the path has twists and turns
  • Adaptable and dynamic
  • Nuanced, complex thinking

Those who adopt an optimalist attitude are often more productive and feel greater satisfaction and happiness in life vs. their perfectionist counterparts. Consider these basic tips to begin integrating more optimalism into your every-day life.

Tip: Think of the last time things didn’t go as planned. Now, write down everything you learned from that experience, what kind of feedback you received from it, and how it’s going to help you improve in the future.

Tip: Take one of your goals and write it down. Is it grounded in reality? If it’s not, how can you reframe it so that it becomes achievable? Do you need to modify the goal, or break it into multiple, actionable steps? Next, write out the steps needed to reach your goal. Are they realistic? Reframe and repeat.

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