Acoustic Post - Perfectionist

By Monja du Plooy

Do you spend hours trying to perfect a task, read your work at least three times before submitting, or are you continually adjusting your looks and behavior to impress and please? We all know at least one perfectionist who tends to drive the “normal” people nuts with impossible standards and expectations. So, this is a look at some of the good, the bad, and the ugly of this personality trait. Perfectionists are worriers and warriors.


What does Serena Williams, Martha Stewart, and Michael Jackson have in common, aside from their individual talents? Perfectionism. Psychologists classify perfectionists as people who generally have a fear of failure, and an adamant will to succeed and a person that sets exceptionally high standards for themselves. Only the best is good enough and therefore they will always go the extra mile. Persistence is at the order of the day as they will keep on trying until the impossible becomes possible and complete.

Some of the many positive qualities and skills of a perfectionist are efficiency, good organizational and planning abilities, analytical behavior as well as high-performance standards. Studies suggested that the best-suited jobs for a perfectionist would be as an Accountant, Physician, Administrative positions, Editor, Surgeon, and Analyst to name a few.

They are some of the most reliable employees and friends you can have as they will always strive to succeed and not disappoint. They rely on approval and validation from certain individuals they look up to in their strive for perfection.


Perfectionists overthink everything and they set unrealistic unattainable goals and expectations, not only for themselves, but also for colleagues, friends, and family. They struggle at delegating tasks and asking for assistance or advice. They like to be in control and when life happens, this is not always a realistic possibility.

Looking at the bigger picture is important and unfortunately, perfectionists can sometimes slow a project down due to perfection rather than focusing on the completion. Change and trying new things spontaneously limit the perfectionist from growing, new experiences, challenges, or sometimes meeting deadlines.

In studies and consultations with individuals that are classified as perfectionists, it was found that they are extremely self-critical, and they are very seldom satisfied with their performance. Not only that, but they also shy away from compliments.


Perfectionists tend to be overly critical, sometimes obsessive, and they associate flaws and mistakes with incompetence and failure. They suffer from high anxiety and stress levels with the pressure of the high expectations they put on themselves which unfortunately takes its toll on their health and relationships. Illnesses like type 2 diabetes, eating disorders, depression, burnout, and even suicide has been associated with perfectionist behavior.

Not only the quality of life of these individuals is negatively affected, but also mental wellbeing. For them, it is always an all or nothing approach and therefore they will expect the same standards from others. The perfectionist ends up feeling let down and disappointed when someone is unable to meet these standards.

There will be people that will acknowledge and admire their ability to work hard, but at the same time, they will probably annoy friends, colleagues, or family by continuously correcting and adjusting the things they do.


The world needs perfectionists, but perfectionists also need the world. Human behavior will get in the way of perfection and should always be taken into consideration. The challenge will always be to find the balance to your perfection and then adapt to succeed. Leave room for mistakes and take on challenges. Never compensate health for perfection. Perfectionists – worriers and warriors.


  1. Great stuff…I always strive to achieve perfectionism but most of the times have issues in meeting my deadlines. I understand it’s important to create a balance but how to control my urge to reach that perfect level? I don’t get satisfied until my results are best.

  2. There is nothing wrong with striving for perfection and setting high standards, but we tend to overthink everything.
    Sometimes, meeting your deadline is more important than delivering something that leaves opportunity for improvement, and from there start building on that perfect outcome with input from your team or collegues.

    Most of the time, perfectionism is emotionally draining and the world would be a dull and boring place if we all did everything perfectly.

    Very often we need some imperfection or a different point of view to produce a perfect result.

    1. Very well said! Appreciate your inputs.

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