How to free yourself from perfectionism and enjoy life

Who I am
Joe Dispenza

Perfectionism is your enemy - get rid of it, enjoy life and make your dreams come true.


"I wanted perfection and I ruined what was good."

Claude Monet.

It took me 37 minutes and I rewrote this first paragraph 8 times, before realizing that what I was doing represented, better than anything else, the object of this article: the tendency to always want to be perfect, that is the perfectionism (the "bad" one).

We often find ourselves demanding that nothing in our life goes wrong, that all the boxes fit together, that our (unrealistic) standards are always respected. We are the children of absolutisms: "all or nothing", "black or white", "inside or outside" and we are unable to accept failure, criticism ... imperfection.

As a fan of personal growth I've always set myself ambitious goals, but being a victim of perfectionism is a whole different kettle of fish. If you find yourself wasting eons of time completing any task. If all you do is procrastinate out of fear of failure. If you impose yourself a thousand rules every day that you regularly disregard: this post is for you.

Perfectionism: the trap of too many rules

This time there is no escape: my mea culpa touches me.

The other day, arranging the 337 articles of theGetPersonalGrowth archive, I enjoyed calculating the length of a typical day for a reader who wanted to apply all the tricks I have recommended in the last 5 years. The result is paradoxical: would you like to read it together? So ... in the day of the perfect GetPersonalGrowth reader you can't miss:

  • An alarm without trauma, perhaps using a sunrise simulator: 0,5 hours.
  • The famous follows sacred hour: another 1 full hour.
  • Another 0,5 hours for viewing our goals.
  • At least 1 hour for shower, breakfast and various preparations.
  • Woe to not make the bed and fix the house, and away another 0,5 hours.
  • Then we have 2 hours a day (if all goes well) of traffic, train, bus, etc.
  • Follow 12 tomatoes of study / work, which (including breaks) correspond to about 6,5 hours: but that bitch of your boss will never make you do less than 8 hours.
  • The lunch break is eaten another 1 hour.
  • In order not to be really anti-social losers, we should also socialize and between aperitifs, aperi-dinners, speed-dating and various Americanates, another 1,5 hours leave.
  • Then you know, you have to do physical activity! We then take another 1,5 hours for the gym.
  • Finally back home we absolutely have to prepare a healthy dinner, perhaps avoiding choking it in 10 minutes: better to foresee 1,5 hours.
  • Don't we want to live in a dirty and messy house? It is better to calculate 0,5 hours for washing the dishes and arranging the kitchen.
  • Thankfully, thanks to media diet, let's not waste time in front of the TV, but if we have to read 52 books a year, it takes 1 hour a day for reading.
  • Since such a day has stressed us enough, it is better to dedicate at least 0,5 hours to excellent relaxation techniques.
  • Woe to go to sleep without it meditate or update ours personal diary: here we see another 1 hour blur.
  • Finally, all the specialists say that we absolutely must sleep at least 8 hours a night: better listen to them!

Total: 30 hours. Ooops.

Personal growth strategies represent the indispensable tools for anyone who wants to undertake a path of improvement. But even the best of instruments, if played incorrectly, generates an unpleasant, unbearable, frustrating sound. The musician is the only fundamental variable of perfect harmony.

If as musicians we get caught up in the cravings of perfectionism, we risk finding ourselves submerged by a thousand rules and regulations. Rules, which added one on top of the other, become impossible to respect. Rules that stiffen us and ruin our melody. Rules that only add anxiety and frustration to our days.

If you are a perfectionist First of all, learn to become aware of all these self-imposed rules. Duties, i.e. all those activities that you feel you have to do, inevitably lead you to self-sabotage your most ambitious goals. Our mind, in fact, is constantly fighting for freedom and when we impose something on it, it always finds a way to escape it. Remember: to make your dreams come true you don't need “I have to”, but “I want”.

To make your dreams come true, you don't need "I must", but "I want".

Wow… the self-ironic list of activities, the metaphor of the musician, this last sentence with effect: I'm really impressed André! All that was missing was a little background music and you would have won the supercazziatore of the year award! I mean, you said everything and you didn't say anything! I just realized that too many rules are counterproductive, but here we are full stop: what can I do, in practice, to overcome my craving for perfectionism ?!

Being aware of the "golden cages" in which we often get stuck is of fundamental importance, but it is not enough to escape our cravings for perfectionism. The temptation could then be to give in to"who cares" effect and send to that country all the rules we have imposed on ourselves; but even in this case we will give the win to that "all or nothing" mentality that would strengthen our perfectionistic tendencies.

I propose an alternative: a simple 3-step approach to free yourself from your insatiable desire for perfectionism and live your commitments and goals with more serenity. Are you there? ;-)

Free yourself from perfectionism in 3 steps

Free yourself from too many rules by adding 3 new rules: it sounds a bit paradoxical and incoherent don't you think? Well, I know that it is difficult for you to accept this inconsistency (this imperfection), but you will have to get over it: your path of liberation from perfectionism started from this first paragraph ;-)

  • Rule # 1: Accept imperfection. Perfection is stillness, coldness, death. Imperfection instead… imperfection is life, warmth, movement. Changes, improvements, can only come from imperfection. Everything in nature grows and changes state thanks to imperceptible imperfections and imbalances at the atomic level. Learn to see imperfection with new eyes, to accept it, to love it. After all, as the Austrian journalist Karl Kraus wrote in "Said and contradicted"

"To be perfect she was missing only one flaw."

Karl Kraus.

  • Rule # 2: agree to lose control (from time to time). The universe is chaos: if you don't accept it, you are overwhelmed. The stiffer you are, the more easily you will be broken by the events of existence. Stop fighting, give up - you can't control everything. Learn to abandon yourself to the current of life: just give a few strokes of the oar, just enough to keep you in the right direction, but don't pretend to decide every millimeter of your crossing. And, as I learned in a Milanese taxi, when a wave arrives ... follow.
  • Rule # 3: Agree to start. The pursuit of perfection (i.e. the fear of failure) is one of the 4 main causes of procrastination. If you really want to make your dreams come true, you have to learn to accept the discomfort of the beginning. At first nothing will be perfect, you will feel like a beginner, an incompetent, an idiot. You'll be wrong and then ... you'll be wrong again. This is no excuse not to start. The illusion that all our efforts must be crowned with perfect success immobilizes us and in fact condemns us to failure. Remember:

"Better an imperfect draft than a perfect blank sheet."

R. Schuller.

I wish you an imperfect week then. A week in which you will start working / studying even when all conditions are not perfect. A week in which you will allow yourself the luxury of making mistakes and you will learn from your mistakes. A week in which you will respect a few rules, but above all you will learn to respect yourself.

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