The idea that perfection is a prerequisite for success is prevalent both in popular culture and in self-help books, but it’s not entirely accurate. In fact, the desire to be perfect can diminish a person’s likelihood of achieving what they want in life. Being perfect is a vampire: constantly sucking the blood of your success. So what does it mean to be successful? What this post will explore are some examples of people who have achieved greatness without being perfect.
In a previous post, I covered the idea that perfectionism can be looked at as a compensation for low self-esteem . “ Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people .” Life is messy and there are no strict criteria for classifying something as perfect. Even if there were some kind of universal criteria, it would not apply to everybody; therefore, success can only be defined in relative terms. In other words: Perfection is an idea that belongs to someone else’s mind map. Its perception as “success” on your part will not be the same from the person’s point of view.
The desire to be perfect can diminish a person’s likelihood of achieving what they want in life.
In the case of success, it is often defined by what you have: money, fame, a nice car and so on. There will always be someone with a bigger house or with more money in the bank. In some ways, even if everybody has possessions that they deem to be “successful”, these possessions cannot be quantified because not everybody values them in the same way.
The other way success can be defined is by the achievements in your life. This is more relevant to how you feel about yourself. Your achievements are often accompanied by feelings of pride and satisfaction: you did it! It’s an achievement when you finish a long project or when you help someone in need. However, the desire to be perfect can sometimes make us lose sight of our own achievements.
In my work as career coach, I have often found that the source of perfectionism lies in the childhood. Some people may have been told that they were not good enough as kids and they are trying to prove themselves with their achievements. Sometimes, some parents focus too much on achievement and neglect the other more important aspects of a child’s life. When you feel like you are not good enough, you want to achieve something great in order to feel better about yourself. This can be very tempting, but it’s important to remember that claiming success not only means achieving something great like a big house or career, but also striving for a more inner sense of satisfaction.
The desire to be perfect can sometimes make us lose sight of our own achievements.
By doing this, there is always the danger that you will lose sight of other important aspects of your life. For example, if achieving your dream means going on a fast track career path, you might neglect friendships and personal interests.
Success is not a finite amount of money or possessions, but the ability to find meaning in what you have achieved. As long as there is something that you’re good at and that makes sense to you personally, it’s possible to find meaning in it.
Another important factor is the attitude with which your pursue success. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others, you will never be satisfied. It’s interesting how much negative language we use when talking about success: “I’m so jealous of my colleagues.” “He is so cool because he can afford a Porsche.”
Be wary of the way you describe your friends and don’t put yourself down by always comparing yourself to others. The way you describe your friends is how you want to be described by others. Alternatively, you can change the way you describe what you do in order to feel more positive. For example: “I have a very good job and great colleagues.”
So, as long as the things that we achieve are personally important to us and make sense to us, we can identify with them as successful. If we believe that these accomplishments are not enough when we look at other people’s achievements, it will not make us successful.
At the end of the day, there is no such thing as “successful” in life. It all depends on what you want to achieve from your life and how you want to measure success.
A person’s definition of success is something personal and relative to their culture. There might be a specific car, house or watch that symbolises success to you, but others may not see it as such. In the end, there is only one true way to measure your success: your happiness.