Don’t Fall Into The Perfectionist Trap

Don’t Believe All Your Own Beliefs: You Are Not A Perfectionist!


Whenever I hear the student say in a guitar lesson “Yeah but I’m a perfectionist”, I’m never really sure if they carry this label as a badge of honor or as an excuse.

Let me get this straight right away:

“Being a perfectionist is NOT something to be proud about”
Loving yourself… IS!

Nobody should put that amount of unhealthy pressure onto themselves.
We are all human beings, not robots.

There is also beauty in imperfections.

I cannot begin to sum up the number of times that I did something I did not intent to do on guitar, and that turned into a song or an amazing solo idea.

Question Everything, Including Your Own Programming.

I used to be a perfectionist many years ago.
One day I decided to train my mind not to label myself like that anymore, and to get rid of the whole notion all together that I was a perfectionist.

It’s amazing in how far your upbringing and education programs you into adopting certain belief systems about yourself and your environment.
That is why it is so utterly important to constantly question everything.

When I questioned the whole validity of myself being a perfectionist: I realized that I was ONLY that, because my parents, when I was a child, had used that term a couple of times during my youth when they talked about me or referred to me.

I had taken over that belief from mum and dad.
After all: when you’re a child, your parents are authority figures. Hence: if they say something… it must be right.
Not so!

Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with doing your best and striving to get the best possible results.
Striving for excellence is admirable.

Perfectionism vs. Excellence!

However: there is a difference between being the kind of person who strives for excellence, and being the kind of person who labels himself as “a perfectionist”.
“Excellence” is realistic, perfection is not.
Perfection is an illusion, and leads to disappointment as it can never be achieved. It’s akin to the horizon that keeps moving away as you keep moving towards it.
Where does it start, where does it end, when is enough enough?
The reason why perfection can never be achieved, is because it is subjective and unmeasurable.
It’s in the eye of the beholder. Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure: “it’s never good enough”.

Excellence however is attainable and measurable.
It is measured by the feeling of contentment and satisfaction that you have when you believe that you accomplished what you wanted as well as you possibly could.

Always strive for excellence, but never be a perfectionist.
Excellence can come in many different forms and shapes, but there is only 1 specific “perfect way”. That is… “the perfect way”.
By default then: perfectionism is boring, limiting, narrow, and lacking in personality, diversity and freedom.

More importantly: there is this very interesting contradiction, that perfection tends to be more readily attainted when one the least tries to obtain it.
I think that is all the more reason to choose not to be a perfectionist.

Do Your Best Forget The Rest!

I like how Tony Horton from P90x says it: “Do Your Best… Forget The Rest!”
Do all you can as well as you can.. but nothing more!

Meanwhile: never forget to have fun on your journey.
Ultimately; that’s really what music and guitar are all about.
Perfectionists miss out on all that fun.

What does all this have to do with learning music?
The worst, slowest progressing students, are always those who claim to be perfectionist.
Kind a defeats the whole purpose of being a perfectionist in the first place, doesn’t it? 🙂

Be on the look out for more blogs about everything guitar, music, songwriting and music education.

Meanwhile: give this blog a rating and give me your feedback in the comments section below. I believe everything can always be improved, and I gladly would implement your suggestions and ideas in this blog or the next.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Tagged , , ,

Leave a Comment