Many students struggle with the fine line between striving for excellence versus suffering from perfectionism. This handout is designed to help you begin to distinguish motivation for healthy achievement from perfectionism and overcome some of the pitfalls of perfectionism.
What do we mean when we talk about perfectionism? Perfectionism is a determination to be perfect, often in an attempt to win success, acceptance or fulfillment. But, the opposite often occurs. The rigid belief structure of perfectionism makes it difficult for us to be resilient and flexible. Even when we do achieve, perfectionist attitudes can deprive us of the very joy and satisfaction we wanted so badly to gain.
Of course, you don’t want to change your desire to strive and to pursue your goals. Both perfectionists and healthy achievers strive for excellence, but in different ways and with different outcomes. What are some of these differences?