Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Perfectionist

The Perfectionist. Someone who needs everything in the right place in the right way. Someone who will never rest until a job taken is well, PERFECT. I am sure almost all of us would have had a chance of meeting someone that suits that description. Some like such people, but a majority detest them. Reason, perfectionists can be exacting, very demanding just in order to achieve that perfect result. Some even use the terms 'perfectionist' and 'control freak' interchangeably. The perfectionist wants the perfect color in a painting, the perfect font in a presentation, the perfect report, the perfect everything. As long as THEY put in all the effort to achieve that, it's fine. But the minute they expect everyone else, who is really not interested in achieving that level of perfection, to go the extra 1000 miles, they get the epithet of being a control freak. And when that transformation happens, it is not a very nice place to be in!

But then I thought about this from the perspective of the perfectionist! I really wouldn't hold them to be really bad and mean. They are just driven by that deep desire to be the best. Which is not really wrong. And trust me, it is not easy being perfectionist. They end up shouldering responsibility for portions of a project that perhaps is wayyyyyy beyond their control. They end up pushing themselves over the limit to achieve that end. Now, the harmless variety of perfectionists who do not make life hell for everyone around is someone to be looked up to. Aamir Khan holds that title in the Indian film industry. And his is actually a case in point. Almost all of his movies are raging successes. And the effort he puts into each work of art is palpable in the end result. Be it the emotion, the narrative or even performing that intense workout for a role that is supposed to catch your attention for 3 hrs! It is tough.

Take for instance a perfectionist in a project. He/She not only works his/her part, but also goes through the whole to ensure the end result is up to expectations. Not only is this is a huge time commitment, that involves probable juggling of other key tasks and activities, but is also a huge center of stress, if the interim outcome is not satisfactory. They then push themselves to tie up the loose ends and bring the work up to mark. Imagine their plight, if for the failure of someone else, the whole work ends up bringing in sub-optimal results. They'd end up feeling cheated. But the chronic perfectionists never give up. They are psychologically bound to pushing for perfection. They somehow can never slack off. They feel inadequate if they are not perennially glossing over some aspect of the work at hand. And given that more often than not, they end up achieving their desired results, they don't mind the extra mile of effort. In fact, they are wary about losing the desired result, in case they don't put in that kind of effort.

So, is being a perfectionist a good thing? Well, I really don't know. But my guess is, as long as you don't kill someone else's happiness, while achieving super normal success, it is fine. What say?

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