At What Cost Perfectionism?

Mistakes hurt. Even years after a big one, we can still have a physical reaction when we remember the memory. But to what extent do we avoid mistakes? Perfectionism comes at a cost as well. It may give you acceptance from others and perhaps even accolades, but it can take so much more. It steals your creativity, stifles your curiosity and can even strangle your productivity. We end up choosing safe over risk, and end up bored and disengaged, helpless and hopeless.

Jennifer Gresham, a scientist by trade, explores this concept in her short video, The Perfectionism Cure http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWNgwJZDW3E. She says that her six-year-old daughter asked her, “Why is it that no one can make mistakes?”

She realized that as a parent she was stifling her daughter’s creativity with her own desire for efficiency and conformity. And until she learned to prioritize learning over performance, and cleansed her mind of external measures of success, she couldn’t encourage her daughter to be all that she was created to be.

What did Jennifer and her daughter do? They now begin each day by reminding one another that today is a great day to make a mistake. For it is only in making mistakes that we discover new ways of doing things. What mistakes will you make today?