How To Overcome Perfectionism

How to overcome Perfectionism - Magoz

I’ve always been into perfectionism and happy to define myself as a perfectionist.

In fact, perfectionism has been my driving force to learn and evolve.

But after all these years becoming more and more obsessed with details, I’ve reached a point where extreme perfectionism has become a burden. It has made me slow, insecure of my own work and afraid to move forward.

Here are some of my thoughts about fighting against perfectionism.

The Fallacy of Perfection

Perfection doesn’t exist. It’s like the horizon line. You move one step forward, and it moves as well. It’s unreachable. You can always find more ways to polish and refine something. The process never ends.

Also, as you move towards perfection, you learn new things and your previous idea of perfection becomes obsolete.

Perfection is a direction, not a destination.

Some Tips to Overcome Perfectionism

An Inspiring Example

I don’t remember where I read this story first, but it has been in my mind since then. I read it whenever I feel trapped by perfectionism.

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.

All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: 50 pounds of pots rated an “A”, 40 pounds a “B”, and so on.

Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

— Art & Fear. Ted Orland.

I’ve always preferred quality vs quantity, but I now realize it’s not always the smart choice, especially when it comes to creating or learning.


Perfectionism requires hard work and helps to develop judgment. The right amount of perfectionism makes you better because you constantly question and challenge yourself to improve.

But if you cross the line and become obsessed with perfectionism, you stop producing and you may end up not finishing anything. By focusing on production rather than perfection, you will likely yield better results in the end.

Perfectionism must be understood as a direction, not a destination.