“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”

Anne Lamott, Author

Pros and Cons of Perfectionism

advantages and disadvantages of perfectionism

Perfectionism has become quite popular over the past decades. In fact, many people think that they have to be perfect at what they are doing and that perfectionism is the only way to go to succeed in life.

However, this is actually not true at all. While there are some advantages to perfectionism, there are also many problems with being a perfectionist. In this article, the pros and cons of perfectionism are examined in detail.

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Advantages of Perfectionism

  1. Your level of ambition may be quite high
  2. Perfectionism may help you to increase your overall motivation
  3. Being a perfectionist may lead to a high social rank
  4. You may do great at school
  5. You may be willing to work long hours
  6. You may be an idol for other people
  7. Perfectionism can increase your level of perseverance
  8. Perfectionism may lead to world-class performance
  9. Being a perfectionist may be helpful to become famous
  10. You will strive to be the best version of yourself
  11. You will have pretty high standards if you are a perfectionist
  12. Perfectionists pay attention to detail

Your level of ambition may be quite high

One advantage of being a perfectionist is that you will often be quite ambitious in your life. Perfectionists often set strict goals for themselves and do everything to reach those goals. In turn, perfectionists often sacrifice leisure to really achieve the things they want.

In turn, this high level of ambition can help perfectionists to get an edge over other competitors who don’t have the same level of drive.

Perfectionism may help you to increase your overall motivation

In general, perfectionism can also help you to increase your overall level of motivation. If you have a clear vision on your mind regarding what you want to achieve every day and also in the long run, you will be quite motivated to get up in the morning and to work as hard as possible.

Motivation is crucial to achieve our goals in life and perfectionism can definitely help you to stay motivated and to push through difficult periods of your life.

Being a perfectionist may lead to a high social rank

Another benefit of perfectionism is that it may also enable you to reach a high social rank. If you are a perfectionist, your quality of work will be quite good most of the time and also if you help people with their stuff from time to time, those people will be quite impressed with what you were able to achieve for them.

In turn, chances are that these people will value you and what you did for them quite a lot and your social rank among your peers will be quite high.

You may do great at school

Perfectionism can also help you in school. In fact, since perfectionists want to achieve the best possible results, they are also often able to get pretty good grades, which enables them to go to a good college afterward.

In turn, after finishing college with good grades, those people will also have good chances to get high-salary jobs. Thus, perfectionism may also help people to earn a pretty good income.

You may be willing to work long hours

Another upside of perfectionism is that perfectionists are often also willing to work really long hours since they want to deliver the best possible results. In fact, while the average employee will leave the office in time, the perfectionist will often do some additional work. In turn, work results may also be better and the chance for promotions may be higher for perfectionists.

You may be an idol for other people

In our current state of the world, people are often conditioned to be perfectionists. In fact, children are taught from an early age that they should take great care that they do their things as perfectly as possible. In turn, we create a society of perfectionists and in order to be a good role model in our society, you should be a perfectionist as well.

Hence, if your happiness depends on the admiration of others, being a perfectionist can also help you in this regard since people in our society will usually admire and respect your more.

Perfectionism can increase your level of perseverance

Another advantage of perfectionism is that you can increase your overall level of perseverance quite a lot. In fact, while the average person often gives up quite soon in various parts of life, the perfectionist will often push through difficult periods and will try his or her best to get things done.

Consequently, perfectionism and the high level of perseverance related to it can really help us to reach our goals in life.

Perfectionism may lead to world-class performance

If you want to get really good at something, you have to practice hard for it and also have to spend plenty of time. In fact, if you want to really become world-class in what you are doing, you have to have a perfectionist mentality.

It will not enough to just work on yourself, you will have to optimize every little thing that currently prevents you to get to this level. Hence, if you have really high ambitions in life, chances are that a perfectionist attitude can also help you in this regard.

Being a perfectionist may be helpful to become famous

Also in case you want to become famous, perfectionism is definitely the way to go for you. If you listen to interviews with successful and famous people, you will soon realize that many of them are obsessed with hard work and perfectionism.

In fact, many celebrities worked hard for decades every day to get to the level they currently are and if you want to become famous as well, you will need a perfectionist attitude and the will to develop yourself further every day of your life.

You will strive to be the best version of yourself

Perfectionism can also help us to be the best versions of ourselves. In fact, many people have plenty of talent and potential, yet they make little to nothing out of it since they are often too lazy to put in the work to become the best versions of themselves.

However, in order to succeed in various parts of life, it is crucial that you work on yourself and to become better on a continuous basis. Thus, perfectionism can also help you to become and to stay successful in life since you will always strive to be the best you.

You will have pretty high standards if you are a perfectionist

In general, if you are a perfectionist, you will often also have pretty high standards. This could mean that you have big goals in life which you chase as best as possible. It can also mean that you only invite friends in your life who are also quite ambitious.

In fact, it plays a crucial role with whom you spend time with and you should surround yourself with people who have big goals in life as well.

Perfectionists pay attention to detail

While the average person will not care about small details too much, the perfectionist will usually be quite good at paying attention to detail. In fact, perfectionists often find and fix even quite small mistakes.

In turn, the overall quality of work of perfectionists will often be quite good and having a perfectionist in your team may also raise the quality of work of the whole team.

Disadvantages of Being a Perfectionist

  1. Being a perfectionist is not economical
  2. People will become unproductive
  3. Perfectionists will often be quite unhappy
  4. May be harmful to your corporate career
  5. Plenty of unnecessary pressure related to perfectionism
  6. Being a perfectionist may lead to social isolation
  7. You will not be able to figure out what’s really important
  8. Perfectionists beat themselves up way too often
  9. A certain level of obsession is quite common
  10. Time management often is a problem for perfectionists
  11. You may annoy the people around you
  12. Mental issues related to perfectionism
  13. Perfectionism does not benefit you in real life
  14. Even little issues may affect your mood
  15. Nobody is perfect anyway
  16. Perfectionism as flawed and outdated concept
  17. Perfectionism often does more harm than good
  18. Perfectionists often fear failure and don’t try enough new things

Being a perfectionist is not economical

Aside from the many advantages of perfectionism, there are still some issues related to this way of life. In fact, one problem of perfectionism is that it is simply not economical most of the time.

In fact, perfectionists often focus on small details rather on getting projects done as a whole. In turn, perfectionists may work long hours on a certain task, which may not be profitable for companies in the long run.

People will become unproductive

In general, perfectionists also tend to be quite unproductive. Since they will often waste their time on minor issues, they may not develop enough ideas that contribute to success in the big picture in the future. Hence, while perfectionism can increase the overall quality of work, it may not help to stay competitive in the long run.

Perfectionists will often be quite unhappy

If you are a perfectionist, you will always try to become the best version of yourself. The problem is that perfection is just a word and perfection just doesn’t exist in the real world. Thus, if you chase things that are simply not achievable, you will be like a cat chasing its own tail. Sooner or later, the cat becomes tired and exhausted and so will you.

In fact, perfectionism can lead to great levels of unhappiness in the long run since people will never reach the level of perfection they want to. Consequently, if you want to achieve true happiness in life, perfectionism will definitely not be the way to go for you.

Instead, you should rather change your attitude towards life instead of chasing perfectionism that will never be attainable anyway.

May be harmful to your corporate career

Another downside of perfectionism is that it might also harm your career quite a lot. In fact, while your results may be quite good when you are a perfectionist, your overall output levels will be rather low since you will often focus on minor issues instead of solving bigger problems.

Consequently, people who are not perfectionists may be promoted sooner since they know that perfectionism doesn’t make sense most of the time and since they are better able to separate important from unimportant things.

Plenty of unnecessary pressure related to perfectionism

In general, perfectionists tend to put plenty of unnecessary pressure on themselves. Perfectionists always want to do things as best as possible. However, by trying to achieve those high goals, they will often be quite stressed and their overall quality of life will be rather low due to that.

Being a perfectionist may lead to social isolation

Since perfectionists often work quite long hours and want to do their things as best as possible, they will often also not have enough time to follow their passion and their hobbies. In turn, perfectionists may lose many social contacts in the long run since they will simply not have enough time to meet up with other people.

Consequently, an excessive level of perfectionism may also lead to serious levels of social isolation, which may translate into serious mental issues in the long run.

You will not be able to figure out what’s really important

Another disadvantage of being a perfectionist is that you will often have a hard time figuring out what’s really important for you. In fact, perfectionists often strive to do their work as best as possible and want to do everything perfectly. However, as we all know, our day only has a limited number of hours and nobody is able to do everything perfectly.

Thus, there will be a danger that you will neglect the most important things in your life if you spend too much time on minor things due to your perfectionism.

Perfectionists beat themselves up way too often

Perfectionists often also have a quite hard time in life since they beat themselves up way too often. In fact, perfectionism can lead to high levels of unhappiness since perfectionists often can’t deal with unperfect things.

In turn, if they make a mistake, even though it might be small, perfectionists may beat themselves up in a rather absurd manner.

Consequently, this may lead to a state of high levels of frustration for perfectionists in the long run.

A certain level of obsession is quite common

One characteristic that is quite common among perfectionists is that they are often really obsessed with achieving certain goals in life. While a certain level of ambition is really important to succeed in life, it can lead to the opposite outcome in case ambition turns into obsession.

In fact, having an excessive obsession with something often leads to unpleasant outcomes in the long run and perfectionists are quite vulnerable to develop those obsessions.

Time management often is a problem for perfectionists

While the overall quality of work of perfectionists is often quite good, perfectionists are often not able to manage their time in a proper manner. This can lead to serious problems at work, especially when there is a strict time limit for certain tasks that need to be completed for a client.

In such a case, poor time management can bring perfectionists into serious trouble since proper time management is crucial to handle those situations in the most efficient manner.

You may annoy the people around you

In case you are a perfectionist, you may also have a hard time maintaining social contacts. In fact, perfectionists often love to criticize other people.

Even though they often don’t have bad intentions and just want to make other people better, hanging out with perfectionists can be quite annoying and at one point in time, people may just need a break from you in case you are one of those perfectionists who always point out the flaws of other people.

Mental issues related to perfectionism

Many perfectionists also suffer from mental illness sooner or later. In fact, perfectionists often want far too much and when they see that they will not be able to achieve their high goals, they will often become quite sad and desperate. If perfectionism goes too far, it may also result in serious depression since people may just not be happy in their own skin.

Moreover, perfectionists also often suffer from sleep deprivation since they want to get too many things done. In turn, the risk of mental issues increases even further.

Perfectionism does not benefit you in real life

While perfectionism can help you with getting good grades in school, it will often not help you at all in real life. In fact, perfectionism can significantly lower your overall level of productivity and it can also make you quite unhappy in the long run. Thus, even though this concept might look good on paper, it will often just not be suitable to make people happy.

Even little issues may affect your mood

If you are a perfectionist, you want to do everything as best as possible. However, this also implies that even little issues that happen in your life can significantly affect your mood. Since we all have to deal with many small issues in our lives, it does not make too much sense in my opinion to worry too much about those minor issues.

In order to succeed in life, we should rather focus on solving big problems and perfectionists may have a difficult time accepting this attitude.

Nobody is perfect anyway

Since we are told from an early age that perfectionism is a good thing, many people do not even question this concept. However, if you have a look at the world around you, you will soon realize that perfectionism simply does not exist at all.

In fact, people make mistakes on a quite frequent basis and perfectionism is a goal that is simply not attainable at all in the world we currently live in.

Perfectionism as flawed and outdated concept

In fact, in my opinion, perfectionism is a rather flawed outdated concept that leads to plenty of unnecessary unhappiness in our society. Instead of focusing on perfectionism, it might be better to focus on your strengths, to work hard and to accept the outcome from your efforts, even though those outcomes may not be perfect all the time.

Perfectionism often does more harm than good

In fact, in many cases, perfectionism does more harm than good. Many people all over the world are miserable since they think that they are simply not achieving enough in their lives. However, true happiness does not depend on how productive you are in life, it rather depends on your attitude towards life.

Thus, if you are currently unhappy and have a quite perfectionist attitude, you may want to change your overall attitude towards life since this will be a main step to increase your overall level of happiness in the long run.

Perfectionists often fear failure and don’t try enough new things

Perfectionism can also hold you back in life in general. Perfectionists often fear to do something wrong. In turn, they often don’t want to try out new things and get stuck in their daily routine.

However, our world changes at rapid speed and if you don’t adapt and try new things, chances are that you will no longer be able to compete in the job market and in life in general sooner or later.

Top 10 Perfectionism Pros & Cons – Summary List

Perfectionism ProsPerfectionism Cons
Perfectionism can improve your quality of workPerfectionism can increase your stress level
Being a perfectionist increases your ambitionBeing a perfectionist can make you unhappy
Can make you more motivatedPerfectionism often does not pay off
You may strive to work for quite long hoursPerfectionists may waste too much time
Perfectionists pay attention to detailToo much attention to detail is a problem
Even small mistakes will be correctedPerfectionists are often quite obsessed
You may become an idol for other peoplePerfectionists often annoy people
Perfectionists have high standardsMental problems related to perfectionism
You can be the best version of yourselfPerfection simply doesn’t exist
Can help you in schoolPerfectionists often don’t try new things

Should You Be A Perfectionist?

As we have seen before, there are many chances and drawbacks of perfectionism. In my opinion, the concept of perfectionism leads to high levels of unhappiness since nothing and nobody is perfect.

Thus, instead of pursuing perfectionism, we should rather do our best and change our attitude towards life in order to become really happy in the long run.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfectionism_(psychology)

https://www.verywellmind.com/signs-you-may-be-a-perfectionist-3145233

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/perfectionism

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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