• Shiori Nakajima

A Perfectionist Being Not So Perfect


When I was in high school, I would always be competitive and study hard to get high scores on any kind of exams.


For me, it was all about perfecting what I put out there in the world.


I have seen students spending long hours in the library, fussing over seating arrangements, and repeatedly checking the textbooks for entrance exams. I was one of them too. But at this time, it felt like it never will be perfect.


As time goes, I started to doubt what people, including me, think as perfect. Because I know some of my friends felt sick spending a few days at home. It meant their long hours of studying started to hurt themselves.


We, including teachers and parents, knew that it would never be perfect.


That’s what I have seen and experienced myself, but I guess it’s just a visible side of perfectionism.

Perfectionists know that achieving perfection is impossible, and yet, they feel driven to keep trying anyway.

As a perfectionist myself, this mindset has driven me to move forward, no matter how hard it gets. But at the same time, it has given me stress and ended up putting pressure on myself to destructive behaviour.


So how come I see it as a problem? or am I going to go with it?


When I was thinking about it, this podcast came out.

In this episode, Mimi and Alex Ikonn have the opposite opinions on perfectionism. Mimi, who calls herself as a perfectionist, says it has caused pressure and stress. Her husband, Alex points out being a perfectionist doesn’t always cause negative results, and it can push you through the times when things get tough.


So what causes stress and pressure?

- perfectionism is more about distracting from uncomfortable feelings that it is achieving perfection. (The Perfectionism Puzzle)

This quote makes sense in terms of the visible side of behaviour.


A Solid Strategy for Perfectionists: “Improve As You Go”


I got so many ideas that bubbling up in my head but I told myself not to do it because I felt like they’re not “perfect enough” to be executed.


“Screw it — Ship it — At some point, you need to just get it out there” — Mimi Ikonn

“I built so many crap websites before I built a good one” — Alex Ikonn


What if you put things out there, and keep improving as you go? What if you experiment with things even if you think it’s not “perfect”?


I always try to tell myself, there’s no such thing as perfect. Things get better over time.

Funny thing is that I still feel the pressure by (unknowingly) trying to make things to be perfect.


But knowing that things can get better, it makes me feel comfortable about executing, not worried about “imperfection”.


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Copyright © 2019 Shiori Nakajima
Freelance English to Japanese Translator