Don’t Let Perfectionism Paralyze Action

Striving too hard for perfection sometimes keeps us from doing anything at all.

I’m reminded of the wicked servant in the parable of the talents. The King gave gold to each of his servants. The wise servants went out, worked and traded and earned more. The wicked servant, for fear of messing up, buried his gold in the ground.

Far too often I am like that wicked servant. Instead of following through, I think and dream and stew. I spend so much time trying to perfect a goal or come up with a perfect schedule that there’s not enough time to actually carry it through.

 photo credit

This point was brought home to me recently:

I decided to teach my daughter a Christmas themed-poem. I just needed to find one. Days and weeks passed as I read poem after poem trying to find the perfect one for her. One was too long and another too short. Others carried the wrong message. Finally I settled on a poem, but by this point there wasn’t enough time left before Christmas to teach it to her.

My insistence on finding a perfect poem robbed us of time to actually learn any poem.

Unfortunately, perfectionism doesn’t just create problems learning Christmas poems. Many areas in life can be affected.

  • Stressing about having the absolute best curriculum can lead to not wisely utilizing what we do have.
  • Over-analysis of purchases wastes precious time that could be used to enjoy it
  • Writing and rewriting an e-mail, blog post or letter means it may not get finished on time

Some decisions require hours of prayer, soul-searching and seeking advice. Often however, we need to stop worrying about having everything absolutely perfect and just diligently act. Now.

As Amy (from Blogging with Amy) wrote in a recent post, in blogging and many other areas of life “Good Enough is Good Enough.”

[Speaking of acting, want to join me in my One Habit a Month [12 Habits 2012] Challenge?]

Linked up at Women Living Well and Proverbs 31 Thursday
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  1. Kasey says

    Perfectionism is something I struggle with. And the funny thing is, I’m not even good at it! I work and work to get things just right and yet they never actually are! Anyway, terrific post! I love “Good Enough is Good Enough.” 🙂

    • anna says

      Not good at perfectionism. What a wonderful description. I’m afraid it fits me too. So often, the things done spontaneously, out of the heart, turn out so much better than the things I stew and fret about.

  2. says

    Well, I’ll join you two nonperfectionists. 🙂 I certainly am NOT one! I agree that Good enough is good enough. I’m the kind of person who says, “Hey, I’ve done my best, who cares if it’s not perfect. Let’s go do something else!” Okay, so there are times when I should spend a little more time on something, but perfectionism and me aren’t best friends. 😀 Great post!

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