Plea to a Perfectionist


by Jack Goodner, Ed.D.


Dear Perfectionist,


For you, there are an abundance of standards.  These are applied to bring order out of chaos.  I have seen your unwavering standards create results which deservedly earned recognition and acclaim.  Your perfectionistic approach to learning was rewarded by grades.  Any task you could control exceeded standards by sometimes breath-taking margins.  You place more and more of yourself into achieving a level of excellence that only you have come to demand of yourself.


You are accustomed to perfection.  You can define it to the letter.  So long as you can interact with the task performer and instill the same motivation, you can enjoy the fruits of your standards.


But for me who finds it easier to live with imperfection, it is difficult to champion those lofty standards. Please don’t believe that I will allow chaos. I like to believe that I allow for humanness.  I can accomplish large quantities of results that seem to be important and worthwhile, but these results may never come up to your standards.


My plea is not for you to change. What I ask is that you not be consumed by the fire of perfectionism and expectation.


We both watch the world as it performs around us.  I have the option of sampling a broader portion of it because I have less need to control it.  It may receive me more warmly because I place less demands upon it. I am sure you are not wrong for you, but I believe your approach may be wrong for me.


I respect you.  I appreciate you.  I admire your results.  Understand my world and I will work to understand yours. We can co-exist with all of our measured but accepted imperfections. The more we understand one another, the better we can meet and exceed our shared goals.



An ‘Imperfectionist’