Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Achieving your goals without seeking perfection

That which you so desperately seek can become an unhealthy fantasy in your mind. Not eating, not sleeping; you overwork yourself to meet the demands expected of you, or that you expect of yourself. Often these standards you wish to reach, are like a mirage in a desert. Once you walk to the glistening lake you saw at a distance, it vanishes, and a new mirage appears. You then remain dissatisfied. This is was perfectionism looks like – a mirage in the desert.
Pushing yourself to work hard and reach a goal is not bad. But it is the unhealthy expectation to be “the best”, “better than others” or that you “have to” be “perfect” that has a negative impact on you in two ways:

1.     It creates pressure and stress.
Too much stress creates unhealthy levels of stress hormones, it can affect your sleep, your diet and ultimately your immune system and health.

2.     Mental paralysis. 
Expecting yourself to reach a high standard can create excessive fear. This excessive fear of not reaching your desired goal can prevent you from performing all together. When this happens, you find yourself within a self-fulfilling prophecy, where you do not reach your desired goal at all.  

Best way to move forward:
Remember that being “the best” or being “perfect” is like a mirage in a desert. It does not exist. Remind yourself often, when you feel the pressure rising that you will do your best. Focus instead on learning the material you have in front of you, rather than being focused on the result. The more you do this, the better you will perform, the more relaxed you will be and the more effective you will ultimately work. In this way, you set yourself up for reaching your desired goal without seeking perfection.  

Chaitanya Pankhania
Deputy Head of Student Wellbeing

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