For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. It's a fast track to unhappiness, and perfectionism is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. And love isn't a refuge; in fact, it feels way too conditional on performance. The need for perfection is usually transmitted in small ways from parents to children, some as silent as a raised eyebrow over a B rather than an A.

Recent Posts on Perfectionism

Book Review: "Drop the Worry Ball"

When children experience fearful situations, they have the opportunity to cope with challenges, which increases their long term resilience.

Do You Ever Pretend You’re Somebody Else?

I decided I couldn’t live in a world without Robby. The only thing to do was to take his place. I’d have to become Robby. No, not “become Robby.” I’d be Robby.

Do you have Perfectionist Mental Model?

How is your Perfectionist mental model working for you?

The Most Overlooked Reason To Commit

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
You can't tell what a compromise will cost until you commit to it and start figuring out how to make it cost less.

5 Problems that Are Unique to High Achievers

Becoming successful won't make you immune to many of life's problems. In fact, your accomplishments could bring about a whole new set of problems.

The Procrastination Prescription

Why do we put things off, even when they're important? How do we overcome our own resistance? When your plate is full and you've got the "I shouldn't be online right now" blues, try these 6 strategies to get things done ... or not.

Perfectionism and Trichotillomania, Like Oil and Water

Striving for perfection but pulling your hair

The Body Image and Eating Disorder Tsunami

By Ray Williams on May 18, 2015 in Wired for Success
Negative body image and eating disorders constitute a not-so-silent Tsunami that are wreaking havoc in the lives of women and men today.

The Ultimate Price of Our Hyper-Achievement Culture

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on May 14, 2015 in The Power of Prime
In an earlier post, I described the high cost that pushing kids too hard can have on their lives. A truly tragic example of this trend is Madison Holleran, a U. of Penn student and athlete, who committed suicide in early 2014. On the surface, she was a happy and successful young woman. But inside there was turmoil.

8 Myths About Creativity

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on April 25, 2015 in Creating in Flow
Admit it: we all have more than enough excuses and rationalizations for why we aren't doing the creative work we claim to value. Could creative myths be contributing to your procrastination?

What Does Your Email In-Box Say About You?

Email in-boxes are ubiquitous. How do we manage the email we receive? For most, it comes down to some more personality-related behaviors—a combination of organization, procrastination, perfectionism, fear of loss, and the ability to let go. What about you?

Do You Tend to Dread Loss or Anticipate Gain?

By Elizabeth Wagele on April 21, 2015 in The Career Within You
Losing money and getting bad grades are more painful to most people than winning money and getting good grades are pleasurable. Some have figured out that they’ll be more likely to succeed (at losing weight, for example) if they commit to sending money to a charity they hate if they fail to meet their goal.

Perfectionism: Inherited or A Psychological Solution?

There are many articles and research that reference Perfectionism. The term can be loosely thrown around to assume that all perfectionism is an inherited trait. This may be true for some, but not others. Perhaps psychological experiences influence a person's perfectionism. In either case, not enough is known or understood to assert causation.

What’s Hiding Under Pollyanna’s Smile?

By Elizabeth Wagele on April 07, 2015 in The Career Within You
Some Enneagram types value appearing positive more than others do. Many of us 5-Observers challenge the prevailing opinion or look at the negative side while searching for more information. Many introverts and some 5s, 4-Romantics, 8-Asserters and counter-phobic 6-Questioners dislike overly-optimistic language as it seems automatic and insincere.

Adoption in the Life of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs' adoption provided an environment that helped him become the co-founder and major influence of Apple Computers, but his genetic inheritance was also crucial.

9 Warning Signs of Burnout

Burnout has been described as the biggest occupational hazard of the twenty-first century. Educating busy professionals and workplaces about its warning signs is a big first step in reducing its impact.

Don't Believe Everything You Think

Every human mind generates fear much of the time, unless we "retrain" the mind. Without conscious management on our parts, fear can permeate our thoughts -- and poison our relationships with our children. That’s why fear has to be consciously confronted. Here is how.

What Would You Never Dream of Doing?

By Elizabeth Wagele on March 17, 2015 in The Career Within You
Ones (Perfectionists) Would Never Dream of: • being half an hour late to work • not making reservations for every night of their vacation • leaving their clothes in a heap and their dishes unwashed all week • using their sleeve for a napkin • taking a relaxing bath just before guests come

21 Things Clinical Perfectionists Do

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in In Practice
Perfectionism can be a healthy strategy for getting ahead. Clinical perfectionism, however, is a darker form that often impairs performance rather than improves it.

Make Your Dreams Come True, Be Extreme

If you push yourself to extremes and find out what your true talents are.

Genes and Eating Disorders

The "idea" that eating disorders are genetic has yet to be proved. Despite all that we know, some continue to assert that causation is not multidimensional, but rather genetically determined. Some thoughts on the matter....once again.

Who Was George Washington?

By Gregg Henriques on February 22, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
An analysis of George Washington's character and relational strivings on what would have been his 283rd birthday.

4 Ways to Keep Your Cool, No Matter What

With these four simple steps we can become emotionally resilient, gracefully and calmly handling every situation that comes our way.

Is Your Teen an Observer, Asserter, Perfectionist or …?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on February 16, 2015 in Singletons
So much about being a teen can be confusing and difficult. Understanding the nine Enneagram personality types could help your teen. What type is your teen and what does that say about the way he or she relates to others including you, her parents?

Perfectionism Is Self-Deception

Perfectionism is a nasty perception problem

We Are Brian Williams

Imagine Brian Williams saying "I tried to feel good about myself but never felt good enough. I constantly criticized myself. I inflated who I was hoping that somehow the reflection back from my audience would overcome my inner diminishment. Now I see that it never did and it never can."

Are You a Perfectionist?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on February 10, 2015 in Living Single
A 30-item quiz promises to reveal your perfectionist tendencies and, along the way, let you know what perfectionism really is. But how do you know whether this quiz, or any other, really does measure what it claims to measure?

Seeking Perfection? There's a Better Way.

I want the best for myself and my children. Why settle for less? We live in a society of plenty, so we often simply go for it and ask for exactly what we want. An almost inaudible, but powerful voice inside of us might tell us to reach for the best and only for the best. Is this always a good choice though? Is getting the best making us happy? When is it detrimental?

Which Type of Perfectionist Are You?

Research on perfectionism suggests that there are both adaptive and maladaptive forms of perfectionism.

The Burden of Expectation: A Lesson From an Olympic Champion

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on January 27, 2015 in The Power of Prime
Mikaela Shiffrin, the 19-year-old ski racing phenom, has certainly put herself between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the expectations she has created from her short, though illustrious, career. The hard place is that the 2015 World Ski Championships will be contested in Shiffrin’s home town of Vail, Colorado. The expectations on her get ratcheted up big time.