How The Rise Of Perfectionism Is Stunting Your Growth

Progress, not Perfection.


I overheard a group of women in the locker room as I was getting changed for my usual lunchtime workout session. One complained after weighing herself for what she claimed was the fourth time in two weeks. "I still haven't lost any weight," she said. "I'm not coming back."

From the outside looking in – me being a stranger and all – it appeared that her imperfect results had inspired her to quit the gym altogether. It seemed as though the process of getting fit was too taxing and possibly just taking too long for her. I don't know how long she had been coming to the gym prior to this conversation with her and her friends, but apparently it wasn't working out how she had planned.

I, however, walked into the gym with a different mindset:

Progress, not perfection.

Too often, we want to get things right the first time we try. We want to go in and be perfect. We want to create and be perfect. We want the perfect end result and the perfect time to align them and manifest nothing but perfection. And we'd rather do nothing than settle for anything less than that.

We quit, or never even start, because the time isn't perfect, or the perfect results aren't immediate. We choose not to produce, or complete what we're creating, because we're held up by an idea of perfectionism that doesn't always align with the work we're producing. For many of us, it's either perfection or failure – there is no middle ground.

But we forget the most important part: It's our progress, not our perfection, which gets results. It's what we produce, not how perfect we produce it. While yes, we want to do things well, we cannot allow our desire to do things perfectly stop us from doing things at all.

We can't continue to excuse our inactivity by suggesting that the moments, or circumstances, we currently have aren't perfect enough to manifest greatness. The weather is too cold to go for a run, so we don't. The job isn't right to start setting the stage for better professional opportunities, so we don't. The camera we have isn't perfect for starting a photography career, so instead, we do nothing. The website isn't nice enough, so we don't advertise it. We constantly run from our goals because we feel that the hand we're dealt isn't conducive to the dreams we have. We feel that, if we had a little more money, time, resources – you know, the "perfect" circumstance – then we could really get to work. But in allowing ourselves to stay stagnant because of imperfection, we're doing a disservice to ourselves and those we're meant to serve with our gift.

Instead of striving for perfection, we should be striving for progress.

The truth is, our idea of perfection will constantly evolve as we do. But you may never get there if you don't start somewhere. If you keep allowing your perfection – or lack thereof – to handicap your progress, you will never do or experience anything.

Spiritually, we are people of flaws, and those flaws will present themselves in our behaviors and our creations – especially as we tackle them for the first time. However, that imperfection should not stop us from getting things done.

So, instead of waiting for the perfect time or stressing about creating the perfect product, commit yourself to making progress. To get it done well – not perfectly. To take one step forward of starting to complete tasks on your to-do list(s). To accomplish one more thing off your list of goals. To grow, or learn, or do a bit more in all aspects of your life. Because as each day passes, you'll be one step closer to where you want to be.

If we remember that it is our steps that bring us to growth and completion, not our perfection, we will better position ourselves for greatness.

New things, or trying them, will never be perfect. They will require you to stumble and fall sometimes. They are every part of trial and error that perfectionism can't stand. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do those new things; it just means that you should welcome imperfection.

Related Stories

These People & Places Help Me Find Inspiration When I'm Feeling Stuck - Read More

7 Memoirs That Will Motivate You To Live Your Best Life - Read More

For The Women Searching For Happiness Everywhere But Where They Currently Are - Read More

For Keri Hilson, True Alignment Is The Key To Happiness - Read More

Featured image by Getty Images

It's great to check a few of the tried-and-true popular U.S. and global locales off your travel wish list, but it's even better to add a few other spots that are not quite as overpopulated with tourists. You can create a few unique memories and get those IG moments that don't seem so overdone or cliche while exploring a different part of a country.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

For some time now, the Human Design System has been picking up mainstream traction! And like so many other explorative journeys, the concept of Human Design took off via social media. Similar to Astrology, Human Design requires your birth time and date, and it also provides a map of sorts to help you navigate this world with purpose while being uniquely you (and tapping into your purpose). In fact, if you desire, the information can work simultaneously with Astrology.

Keep reading...Show less

The more Saweetie prioritizes her mental health, the more gems she drops in the process. The “Icy Chain” rapper has been open in the past about her mental health struggles due to being overworked and not properly taking care of herself. After having a few mental breakdowns, she has been on a mission to put her health first and focus on self-care.

Keep reading...Show less

Black women have been redefining what wellness looks like since the beginning of time. (I even have a real-life, sassy, still-walking-signifying-driving-gardening example of this via my own 92-year-old Granny, who is the epitome of manifestation and self-preservation, as she has always defined wellness on her own terms.) We continue to shift the narrative, especially when it comes to what "wellness" actually means as a Black woman in a world where it can be so hard to simply exist in fullness.

Keep reading...Show less

We all know what it is to love, be loved, or be in love – or at least we think we do. But what would you say if I were to tell you that so much of the love that you thought you’d been in was actually a little thing called limerence? No, it doesn’t sound as romantic – and it’s not – unless you’re into the whole Obsessed-type of love. But one might say at least one side of that dynamic might be…thrilling.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts