Question:

Now I know it sounds a bit strange but my worst problem is perfectionism. It's only now that I have started realizing this and how it is the root cause of all my stress and anxiety. I set such tall, lofty standards for myself and feel that any less than that will fail and will be sub-standard version of my abilities. The worst part, my standards overwhelm me so much unconsciously that I plunge into procrastination. It drives me insane.

What am I, a perfectionist or a slacker? I can never answer myself without causing anxiety. It has a detrimental effect on my academics and personal life. I want to shed such tendencies. I have almost stopped studying, even though my exams are fast approaching. When I sit down with my books and learn, I end up trying to remember every small detail that others might not notice and I would, which means it takes me double the time to study a particular topic than other people. I end up distressed and pessimistic about my efficiency.

Please help me.


Answer:

If success is measured by perfection, then there would be no successful person in the world, since no one is perfect. Even in the matter of religious perfection, everyone sins. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8).

Yet, even without perfection people do pass tests and are successful in their careers. Therefore, perfection is not necessary for success.

What you need to be able to do is give the things you work on your best shot. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). It is here that you are failing because you are only willing to put in effort if you are guaranteed perfection. You want to be able to say that good or bad, you did the best that you were able to produce and be satisfied with the outcome.