Why Perfectionism Will Kill Your Growth

by Bamboo Forest

Being perfectionistic doesn’t increase your effort. Ironically, it decreases it.

If everything has to be just right for you to exert effort, you’ll never do so because things are never just right.

Not for you. Not for me. Not for anyone.

Your mind will always find reasons why now isn’t the right time to pursue your goal if it looks hard enough.

Conversely, your mind will always find reasons why now’s a great time to pursue your goal if it looks hard enough.

In any situation, you can focus on what is disempowering, or on what is empowering, and if you look for it that’s what you’ll find. ~Anthony Robbins

  • Want to start a practice of sitting meditation? Just do it… your life doesn’t need to be in order for you to begin.
  • Want to start a diet? Just do it… it’s irrelevant that you’re dealing with life issues.
  • Want to quit smoking? Just do it… your health will improve the day you begin.

Someone postponing something because circumstances aren’t quite right is like a basketball player who’s chosen to only give 50% effort in a game.

Considering how imperfect life is, if you’re waiting for that perfect time to begin something, you’ll never find it.

So take the time you do have and use it.

You’ll never look back.

Bamboo Forest is an Email Life Coach, helping people tackle something in their life over the course of a month through email. He’s also the founder of Tick Tock Timer.

Photo by iwona_kellie

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott McIntyre | Vivid Ways January 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hi Bamboo Forest,

you hit the nail on the head when you say that, if we wait until things are just perfect to do something, we’ll wait forever.

It might go against our ‘play it safe’ attitude, but we need to get used to all the pieces not being in place. And act despite this.

The quest for perfection in any area of life can only lead to disappointment. The definition and what we see as ‘perfection’ will move ever-upwards, no matter how close we try to get to it.


Dave January 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm

This is an area I’ve really struggled with.

I loved this: “your life doesn’t have to be in order for you to begin” i certainly have an inner voice telling me otherwise 🙂 Sometimes I have to be firm and over-ride that voice. When I manage to do that I can tackle a small chunk of a project, which leads me to the next step, then the next.


Bamboo Forest January 30, 2011 at 7:28 am

@ Scott: “will move ever-upwards’. That’s a very interesting way to characterize the observation of perfection.

Thanks for sharing that.

@ Dave: The mind is genius at generating ideas of why not to do something. This is why we must change our perception if we want to gain mastery over self.


The Vizier January 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Hi Bamboo Forest,

Being a perfectionist is a hindrance to getting things done. Speed is usually of the essence. A perfect opportunity will not wait for us to be ready to seize it. If we try to get everything in perfect order, we would have missed the opportunity and wasted our efforts. Napoleon himself said that “Strategy is the art of making use of time and space. I am less concerned about the later than the former. Space we can recover, lost time never.”

Thank you for sharing this article! 🙂

Irving the Vizier


Bamboo Forest January 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm

@ The Vizier: Very well said. Thank you for that insight.


Paijo February 15, 2011 at 3:58 am

Nice advise, cos nobody perfect so,..do something quickly is better than nothing


Togrul February 15, 2011 at 7:16 am

Another great article,

thanks for sharing.



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