In this article, I wanted to write about the importance of students' mental health, but I got sidetracked by another issue plaguing the youth - procrastination. You can't imagine how some of the most beautiful ideas could be crushed under the artificial pressure of procrastination. It destroys your motivation and leaves you naked to any external harm and forces fragility upon your mental state. But what's one of the most common causes of procrastination?

 

 

Perfectionism

 

The perfectionist people are the best (in the worst and best ways possible). Why? Because their intentions are good at heart and want to finish their job responsibly, but fear of having a not-so-perfect result at the end keeps them on an invisible leash. They have to obey that force, and if they do something less than perfect, they would be ashamed, embarrassed, and will remember how they failed for times to come. I am one of them. I am on the leash. Personally, for me, this trait was ingrained in my childhood when I was on the "better" side of every comparison my parents made. I was the "best" pupil and child in their mind, so I tried my best to fit that pitch-perfect picture. And as a result, I ruined my mental health, with a massive fear of failure and inability to fulfil my potential. But let's understand the mindset of a perfectionist more in-depth.

 

I want to give you a brief description of a perfectionist on a straightforward scenario.

 

Imagine two people on the shore of a river. I'll call them Jack and Alice. And there are two boats that they can get on to continue their lives down the river in a lush city full of opportunities. They both have many incredible ideas and have some cash to fulfil them. On the side of each boat, there's a piece of paper with instructions on riding on a boat. So, they start reading them. Alice reads the most important parts of the manual and gets on the boat. She sails away. Jack, though, is trying to read the manual till the last page, last sentence. He spends so much time perfecting his skills in theory; he doesn't even think of sailing the boat and learning on practice. Jack wants to get the theory part just perfect. After a while, he sees a big boat approaching the shore, and its captain is on the front. It's Alice. She sold that little boat and invested that with the money she had in the market, and enlisted in a ship's crew. Then she climbed the ranks, and now she is the captain of her ship. She also made a fortune because of her investment. Whereas Jack is still reading the manual thinking, he doesn't know how to sail a boat for 100%.

 

This story illustrates how one can lose opportunities and stop developing because of their perfectionism. If Jack sailed the boat without knowing everything, what could have possibly happened? Would he crash it? Most probably no, as Alice didn't. Even if he did, he would find other ways to solve the problems. He would get to know the ins and outs of sailing a boat while doing it and might have learned other stuff in the city.

 

 

And what about you? You want to do a perfect job. You are scared you won't achieve that mark. So, you procrastinate and waste time on other stuff. As a fellow perfectionist who is trying to break that perfectionist mould in his mind, I ask myself some questions to get through it. The questions like "Are there any huge repercussions if I fail? Will I fulfil my task even if it's not 100% perfect? Will I learn new things for myself? Am I a perfectionist for myself or others?"

 

That last question.

That last question made me think. I wanted to do a perfect job NOT for myself but for others to see. Let's revisit the time I was compared to others and was told how I'm better. They hung my photo on an Honor Board. I couldn't be less.

But you can and should be. Because those standards are unachievable and every time you try to reach them, you'll fail miserably. I did. And don't want to anymore. So let's break the mental cages together!

Perfectionism rarely begets perfection, or satisfaction - only disappointment.

- Ryan Holiday