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3 ways to overcome perfectionism

3 ways to overcome perfectionism

By Jenny Awad


Perfectionism can jeopardise your career growth and negatively impact your mental health. So how do you overcome it? According to Associate Professors Thomas Curran and Andrew P Hill, perfectionism – the irrational striving for flawlessness combined with overly critical self-evaluation – has increased significantly since the late 1980s, especially among young people. Curran and Hill attribute this increase to various cultural, political and economic changes resulting in a societal shift towards market-based systems of evaluation.1 As young lawyers, we are all aware of the harsh competitiveness synonymous with market-based evaluation systems. Throughout our education, professional careers and social media accounts, we are constantly evaluated based on our performance and ranked accordingly. We seek the highest ATAR score, the most prestigious university, the top-tier internships and the perfect selfie. Through this culture of competition and self-interest, our ranking among our peers eventually starts becoming part of our identity. The price of perfectionism It is no surprise that many young lawyers identify with being perfectionists. However, there is a reason perfectionism is often described as a “plague”. According to Winston Churchill, “the maxim ‘Nothing prevails but perfection’ may be spelled P-A-R-A-L-Y-S-I-S”.

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