Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Waiting for Perfect

I'm always struck by the negative impact that perfectionism can have on my life. Frequently, I'll find myself procrastinating for no apparent reason, and when I delve a little deeper I find the root cause to be my perfectionism, and my fear that I can't accomplish something exactly the way I want to.

My perfectionism has gotten in the way of learning music, teaching, reed making, mothering, taking on new opportunities, writing this blog, etc. You name it and I can probably find an example of my perfectionism getting in the way. I can't tell you how many times I have had to sit myself down and say that this behavior is silly and that I need to get over it. Once I've done that little bit of self-examination I can usually pick up and get going on whatever it is that I've been putting off. What I haven't figured out is how to not have the reaction in the first place.

I also see this behavior in a few of my students, and I'm learning to help them correct it as well. I think that perfectionism in general is viewed on the whole as a positive quality by our society. We don't talk about it getting in our way very frequently, and people who procrastinate out of perfectionism are often lumped into the same category as people who procrastinate out of laziness. This is a mistake, as the two types need very different corrections.

Believe it or not, this is the result of perfectionism
The best way that I've come up with to deal with my perfectionism-procrastination when it's getting in my way is to analyze exactly what it is that's holding me back. I haven't posted on this blog in a year because I don't have as much time to write and take/edit pictures for 3 posts weekly. I've let my Facebook page lapse for many of the same reasons. I'm going to correct it by making an effort to write one post weekly. Instead of holding onto a standard that is too much for me to achieve and getting absolutely no result, I'm going to change to a more realistic standard and be happy with the progress that I can make.

Do you see the negative impact of perfectionism in yourself or your students? I'd be happy to hear about any ideas or coping techniques that you've come up with, so please share!
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