What Perfectionism Really Costs Us

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I was lucky. I was in the right place at the right time. If I can do it, anyone can. If you haven't said these phrases in response to a compliment, you probably know someone who has. They're not a sign of modesty and agreeableness, though — and they could have a profound impact on your happiness overall.


Psychologists from Texas and Florida have been wrestling with perfectionism through their research. A new study has found that employees who doubt their own abilities at work tend to carry those poor feelings and emotional exhaustion into their home lives, where it poisons the well even off the clock.

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It's one thing when your bad day at work follows you home (or vice versa). If you can't turn those feelings off, however, you'll end up paying for it, whether by procrastinating like your life depends on it, losing your temper with your friends and loved ones, or succumbing to your feelings of being overwhelmed. Not only do we have the tools to spot the signs of imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and burnout, but we know how to rescue people from them, including ourselves.


One method that can help is going through a checklist that refutes what your worries tell you about yourself. You can also cultivate resilience in your work culture by emphasizing gratitude with your colleagues. It's also worth developing realistic ideas about how much energy you should spend on a project or a job. But most of all, while it's important to strive, it could be even better to recognize the good life when you're already living it.