#1775 The Spice of Life

The Virtuous Mean of Perfectionism

In our last +1, we talked about some more wisdom from Dr. Nate Zinsser’s GREAT book, The Confident Mind.

More specifically, we talked about the fact that we need to make some deposits into our psychological bank account on THREE time horizons—our PAST, our PRESENT, and our FUTURE.

I also quickly pointed out that we need to embrace the fact that NONE of us are EVER going to be perfect.

I want to talk about that some more real quick.

Let’s get to work.

Dr. Zinsser tells us: “Nothing will drain your confidence account faster or prevent your First Victory more surely than your refusal to accept and work with inevitable human imperfection. If you punish yourself for each and every mistake, error, and imperfection, it’s impossible to be confident. Destructive perfectionism is different from striving for perfection, the discipline and dedication necessary for sustaining your efforts toward improvement.”

He continues by saying: “A small amount of perfectionism is absolutely required if you’re going to develop your knowledge, skills, and fitness, just as a small amount of spice is required in most cooking recipes to give the meal some excitement. But too much perfectionism will derail your progress and ruin your life, just as too much spice ruins any meal.”

That’s my new ALL-TIME favorite way to think about high standards and bringing JUST the right amount of perfectionism into our lives.

Think SPICE!

We want *just* the right amount.

Too little or too much ruins the meal the same way too little or too much perfectionism ruins our lives.

Note: This wisdom also reminds me of Tal Ben-Shahar’s distinctions on the Optimalist vs. the Perfectionist we talk about in our Notes on The Pursuit of Perfect and Conquering Perfectionism 101. (Check those out if you haven’t yet!)

As Dr. Z says: “Strive for perfection, but don’t demand it.”

Here’s to making the deposits in your Antifragile Confidence bank accounts through your thoughts and actions all day every day, especially...


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