My search for a perfect start has been futile, so far. So let’s just dive into this piece.

Perfectionism is a dislike for anything less than perfection. A perfectionist is one who has a propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards. Is perfection actually an achievable state? By whose standard is perfection measured?

Did You Know?

• Perfectionism is sometimes seen as a positive trait. But based on research conducted over the years, it is not positive. Perfectionism does not equal striving to do your best, except perfection is the definition of your best.

• Perfectionists are huge procrastinators. This is because they like to wait till they are certain that they can do a thing perfectly. (If you procrastinate because you’re lazy, don’t begin to think that you’re a perfectionist. Get off your ass now and face that task!)

• Perfectionists are usually so hard on themselves. They find it hard to celebrate little wins.

• Perfectionists spend more time on a task than other people would. Again, if you spend much time on a task because you don’t practise time management, I’m not talking about you.

• There is a correlation between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and perfectionism. However, not all persons with OCD are perfectionists, and not all perfectionists have OCD.

• Toxic perfectionism hits young people particularly hard. “According to recent estimates, almost 30% of undergraduate students experience symptoms of depression, and perfectionism has been widely associated with these symptoms.”

• Many suicidal people are perfectionists.

Apparently, being perfectionistic isn’t really favourable. We’ve seen more demerits than merits, the huge effects on one’s mental health: clinical depression, increased risk of bipolar disorder. The ironic part of this is that perfectionism can make one stop trying to succeed.

Here are some tips to handle perfectionism:

1. Be kind to yourself. Make conscious efforts to be kind to yourself.

2. Acknowledge that goals will be difficult. There is bound to be some level of difficulty when you want to do any task. Accepting this makes life easier for you. Learn to create an allowance for difficulties and obstacles.

3. Set realistic goals. There’s no point in putting every task possible on your to-do list if you’ll only end up feeling overwhelmed and doing nothing.

4. Break overwhelming tasks into smaller chunks. Go with one at a time.

5. Lastly, never forget that people make mistakes. And mistakes always present learning opportunities.

Prosper Igbozurike