Being Perfect Has Its Flaws - TestYourself Releases Results of Perfectionism Study
TestYourself.psychtests.com reveals the pitfalls of setting the bar too high for ourselves and others.
MONTREAL, CANADA (MARKETWIRE) -- April 22, 2011
TestYourself.psychtests.com one of the web's foremost source of personality assessments, is releasing interesting data from their Perfectionism Test. Study results, obtained from a sample of more than 1,400 people, reveal that perfectionistic tendencies can have a significant impact on self-esteem, mental health, and work performance.
"Stephen Manes, in his book "Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days", goes on a nice little tirade about how wonderfully freeing it is to be imperfect. He states:
"Perfect is never doing anything wrong - which means never doing anything at all. Perfect is boring! So you're not perfect! Wonderful! Have fun! Eat things that give you bad breath! Trip over your own shoelaces! Laugh! Let somebody else laugh at you! You can drink pickle juice and imitate gorillas and do silly dances and sing stupid songs and wear funny hats and be as imperfect as you please and still be a good person."
To be perfect, or to find perfection in others, should be right up there with catching a fairy or nabbing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's impossible to do. And it's this intense desire to be flawless that is at the root of self-image issues, family problems, and stress at work. While TestYourself's data reveal that most people fall somewhere in the middle on the perfectionism scale (in that they set the bar high for themselves and others, but not unreasonably so), there are some pedestal-seeking individuals who push this desire to an extreme - and inevitably come tumbling down in the process.
According to TestYourself's statistics perfectionistic tendencies tend to vary according to gender, age, education level and school grades. Their data reveal that women tend to be slightly more obsessed with perfection than men, particularly in terms of Personal Perfectionism (setting high standards for self) and living up to social pressures to be perfect - not surprising, given that the majority of media attention emphasizes the need for women to stop or at least inhibit the aging process, to use only the best cleaning products for their family, and to drop two dress sizes in thirty days or less. In terms of age differences, the desire for perfection in self and others tends to peak between the ages of 25-29, and then steadily drops as we age. Education level and grades are also a common area where people are constantly seeking perfection, with people who were in the top 5% as students scoring highest on TestYourself's test in terms of Personal Perfectionism, Pressure at Work to be Perfect, and Expecting Perfection from Coworkers. Moreover, as education level increases, so too does the desire to be perfect.
"It's important to realize that there's nothing wrong with setting the bar high," points out Dr. Jerabek, president of the company. "In order to bring out the best in others and reach our own full potential, we must set goals that are challenging, perhaps even slightly out of our reach - otherwise, we'll never know what we're capable of. But you need to leave wiggle room for error, and set goals that are not totally beyond your capabilities. When you view success as an all-or-nothing, that's when you set yourself and others up for disappointment. And our study results show how detrimental unrealistic expectations can be."
TestYourself's data reveals that the pitfalls of wanting perfection are numerous. People with a higher desire for flawlessness were more likely than those with reasonable expectations to be hard on themselves when they fail, to have lower self-esteem, to have stress-related problems, and to have been diagnosed with depression or an anxiety disorder.
"When we looked at perfectionism scores according to work performance, it was obvious that placing high expectations on ourselves tends to backfire," points out Dr. Jerabek. "Those who scored higher on perfectionism were more likely to perform poorly at work. Those with lower but more reasonable expectations tended to have a better performance rating. So according to our data, more isn't always better."
TestYourself's perfectionism study also reveals that:
"Perfectionism can be truly damaging to our sense of self. That is not to say that we should not have ambitions, be driven and do our best," remarks Dr. Jerabek."But we've got to stop being so darn hard on ourselves. Don't make excuses, own your errors and failures, but don't put yourself down because of them…keep your head high and just take it as an opportunity to learn."
Those who wish to take the Perfectionism Test can go to: can go to http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3052
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