Is it perfection or achieving your personal best?
By Kathy J. Marshack, Ph.D.
As the ball flew past
the keeper into the goal for the second time, I watched the young player
burst into tears and cover her face in shame. My heart went out to
this ten-year-old. Even though she has been told a hundred times that it
takes a whole team to make a goal or to defend the net, she felt the burden
of responsibility for losing the game. Rightly or wrongly, she realized that
the "buck stops here." She had failed her team. She and everyone knew
Perfectionism is the bane of performance whether it is
in academics, the arts or sports. It seems that you can't live with it and
you can't live without it . . . that is if you want to perfect your skill and
win. Learning to live with it means defining perfectionism in such a way as
to bring out the best in a player or performer or student without damaging
side effects. Perfectionism need not be bad. In fact, it is the driving force
behind excellence of any kind. It only becomes harmful, psychologically and
even physically when the person is motivated by fear of failure rather
than a love of what they're doing.
So what is the difference between
healthy perfectionism or striving for excellence and neurotic perfectionism?
Much research has gone into answering this question. It's not always easy
to tell if a performer is motivated by neurotic or healthy perfectionism,
because perfectionists are good at covering their flaws. However, if you look
at the whole person within the environment of their family and/or
team, you can spot some telltale signs.
For example, the
neurotic perfectionist has
(1) a constant need for approval from others,
(2) too high standards for he or she to meet,
(3) endless anxiety with no way
(4) and no role models of others who handle failures or successes
On the other hand, the person with healthy perfectionism
is guided by
(1) a high need for order and organization, or discipline,
(2) reasonable, achievable standards that nevertheless require hard work,
a belief that mistakes are opportunities to learn, and
(4) role models who
accept their own mistakes and encourage them to do their
The young goalkeeper who failed to defend the goal may
or may not be motivated by perfectionism, healthy or neurotic. You don't
have to be a perfectionist to feel the sting of defeat. Talented people
thrive on competition. Competing with other talented people gives them the
challenge they need to achieve excellence. The healthy
perfectionist, however, is wise enough to recognize that a less
than stellar performance just means he or she has work to do. He or she
knows what they are capable of and they push until they meet their goals;
then they set new ones to achieve.
Ultimately the talented person who is
motivated by perfection to strive for excellence does so because she or he
loves to do well. While fear may motivate the neurotic perfectionist, and
ultimately prove to be his or her undoing, the healthy perfectionist plays
because they love what they do. Performing well is its own
How To Develop An Attitude for Success
Let me take you back a few years when I first started life
as an Internet Marketer. Upon encountering my first
experience with a site that actually sells products on the
Internet, sparks ignited and cogs turned in my mind as to
how I could replicate the same procedure and start
developing my own products and services on the 'Net.
Believe It Before You See It
Have you ever noticed that the first one to be creative and
risk, climbs to the top of success and achieves the greatest
impact on the rest, than those who *only* follow?
Your priorities in life, obviously, need to be put first ...
first in how you schedule your time, energy, focus and
activities. However, balance is necessary to keep well.
Expect to Succeed!
What is it that makes one person successful and
another one not successful?
It is the attitude of self-worth. We get what
we want out of life by believing that we deserve
to succeed. Your idea of what success is, could
easily be different than mine.
Some would like notoriety, others wealth, some
health. Some want it all, and amazingly get it!
How to Attract Success and Wealth by Using the Power of Visualization
The #1 rule here is to think and dream BIG. If you want to be successful, then you have to imagine yourself successful. Every successful person started out with a dream or vision. If you do not envision success, then you will never obtain success. It will always be just beyond your grasp.