Perfection Anxiety

Trying to be perfect causes anxiety.

The problem with perfection is that few are only perfectionists in one portion of their life.  In other words, it influences every aspect.

On the other hand, when you need a serious operation, you want the surgeon to be a perfectionist.

When dining at an expensive restaurant, you expect the chef to be a perfectionist.

And perfectionists know that even in recreational sports designed to help them relax, they can’t help wanting to be perfect.\

Perfection anxiety cannot be reduced by trying to be what you’re not.

But an awareness that you don’t have to be a perfectionist when doing everything, like your morning run, provides some control, some balance.

Caring enough to be the best is admirable and desired as mentioned above.

But view it as a skill – a gift – that can definitely be balanced with effort.

A successful boxer doesn’t have to punch every person they meet to prove they can do it nor does a perfectionist have to spend 100% of their life creating pressure that robs them of the happiness they’ve earned by killing themselves to be the best.

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Comment on Perfection Anxiety

One thought on “Perfection Anxiety

  1. Hi Jerry,

    Perfection is such a great topic!

    I admit that I aim for perfection, taught to me, in part, by my folks, and later in the Air Force, and during my TV and radio career. (You and I have chatted before.)

    In 1967, I was a kid just out of high school in suburban Boston and helped put together a small radio station in our town. Yup, the FCC found out about the operation, showed up in person, and as the two-man crew left, they whispered: “We get a lot of these stations, but yours is the most professionally-run that we’ve ever seen!” WOW!

    The local papers did a couple of stories about two brothers and a friend running this station out of our friend’s home. It caught the eye of a local resident who, it turns out, was the film director at Ch. 7 in Boston. He asked if I’d like a summer job in his film department? And, my friend with the keen electronic background, ended up in Master Control.

    (Later, he moved to Dallas to open his own audio company, went on the road with folks like Cat Stevens and Willie Nelson, today operates his own station and recently opened a communications and broadcast museum, profiled on this Texas program:

    I’m getting ahead of myself. :)

    One day at work, as I was splicing commercials together, my boss, the film director, asked me about a problem that impacted commercials on the air. Turns out that during my inspection and cleaning of the commercial film reel being readied for broadcast, I had failed to remove a three-inch piece of masking tape used as a reminder that a missing commercial needed to be inserted at this point on the reel. The head of engineering came down and was none too happy with me as the film reel gummed up the projector, and I couldn’t blame anybody, but myself. It was a very strong lesson learned.

    Time marched on and I continued working Ch.7 as a writer, producer, and assignment editor and spent 13 years during the infancy of rock and the later switch to talk, much of the time as a news anchor, at WRKO. And, as you know, Jerry, perfection was an absolute key to success

    Attention to detail (is that different from perfection?) is so paramount in all walks of life, even at home with the family. But, my wife believes that I’m a bit too gung-ho while she’s the complete opposite.

    For example, she’ll constantly forget to turn off, say, a closet light, leaving the switch-flipping to me. So, as you can see, the issue of perfection can be a source of irritation. But, in my experience of 40 years in broadcasting, perfection leads all of us down the golden path.

    My apologies for being so long-winded!


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