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Foxtrot's avatar

What are the pros and cons of striving for perfection?

Asked by Foxtrot (244points) April 9th, 2010

This might be a generalization, but most of us strive to be as perfect as we can. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)
Is this a good thing? Are there negative effects to trying to be perfect?

Is it possible to be perfect?
Is it even a desirable/attractive quality?

Have you ever known anyone who is perfect?

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32 Answers

Taciturnu's avatar

Pro- you will be a driven individual.
Con- You will never succeed.

Lightning's avatar

Pro – You feel good about yourself
Con – You commit suicide when you fail.

Allie's avatar

Pro: You’ll always have something to do.
Con: Perpetual dissatisfaction.

bluemukaki's avatar

Cons: crippling disappointment and dissatisfaction at every turn. Perfection is generally unobtainable and to expect perfection from yourself, what you do or make and the people around you is setting yourself up for sadness and even loathing in the end.

john65pennington's avatar

Bad…....migraine headaches


RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“This might be a generalization, but most of us strive to be as perfect as we can. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)”

To the one who does not strive, no one may strive with him.

let the river do the rowing… behold perfection

Bugabear's avatar

You can never achieve perfection. When you get there it’s still not perfect.

jaytkay's avatar

The perfect is the enemy of the good – Voltaire

anartist's avatar

“As perfect as we can” is a long, long way from being “perfect.” If you, and anyone of like mind, can realize the inherent limitations implied by “as perfect as we can,” why, nothing’s wrong with it. Have at it!

gailcalled's avatar

Personally, I strive to be pretty good.

Foxtrot's avatar

@Lightning Isn’t the suicide comment a little… out there?

I guess my next questions would be: Why is perfection not possible? What IS perfection (in your own definition)?

Fred931's avatar

@john65pennington I swear, if I hear anyone say “ulcer” again, I’ll hire a ninja to come assassinate him/her. Ulcers pretty much ruin your social life and cut your caloric intake in half for a whole week. I have 2 right now, thankfully on one side of my mouth.

Foxtrot's avatar

@Lightning I’m aware of the suicide statistics.. I’m just confused as to where your comment about it being a result of failing to reach perfection came from.

faye's avatar

Perfection is a beautiful summer evening with family and/or friends sitting around a campfire with food and beer. Now I could only make some of that happen. I strive to be kind, perfect would be boring.

Lightning's avatar

@Foxtrot Some people feel so inadequate and hopeless, they commit suicide. Why keep living if perfection is unattainable? It is the most extreme con. I prefer extreme.

Foxtrot's avatar

@faye That DOES sound perfect.

@Lightning I’m sorry for asking so many questions.. but are you saying you prefer suicide? I’m a bit confused.

Lightning's avatar

No it is just an extreme course some take. Most just suffer disappointment and anger fits.

thriftymaid's avatar

Do your best; sometimes that results in perfection, sometimes it doesn’t.

mollypop51797's avatar

good: you strive to reach certain limits
bad: you lose sight of who you really are/were

phillis's avatar

Typically, the person who strives for perfection within are very unaccepting of others without.

phillis's avatar

@Fred931 Be careful about using the word “assassin”. I said something similiar here a week or so ago and was told that we can’t “threaten” to assassinate people. DOH!!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

You should strive to do the best you can do on a particular day and under current circumstances. Never accept less than that if something is important to you. Allow yourself to do many things just for the sake of the activity without demanding excellence.

Demanding or expecting perfection will only succeed in making you and others around you miserable. Attaining perfection is impossible and therefore unreasonable and unhealthy.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Screw perfect!

I say strive to be imperfect!

Fred931's avatar

@phillis But I wouldn’t be the one doing the dirty work, the ninja would! And once he’s done, I’ll run to Wisconsin.

phillis's avatar

@Fred931 Sounds like you’ve thought this thing through pretty well! Ehhhh…..we’re still friends…..right, buddy? Right, pal? Ack!!!

Fred931's avatar

@phillis As long as you don’t use the “u” word.

gggritso's avatar

I respectfully yet completely disagree with @Lightning @Allie @bluemukaki @phillis @mollypop51797 and @jaytkay. In my view, striving for perfection should never lead to dissatisfaction, much less suicide.

First of all, I think “perfect” is personal. When I look in the mirror in the morning I think “This is how you look. It’s not how you want to look, but that’s ok.” I have an idea in mind of what I want to be like, and I set discrete goals. Some weeks I set goals in my information intake, to help my brain. Some days I set goals on watching my back to improve my posture. I’m trying to inch my way closer to that image.

Following that, striving for perfection should not be frustrating. When I was brushing my teeth 10 minutes ago I looked at myself and noticed that my face is looking much cleaner. Am I mad as all hell that it’s not perfect? No, I’m happy that I’m getting there. What’s more satisfying than knowing you’re improving yourself, that you have a better, future self to look forward to if you continue?

I also completely disagree that striving for perfection will in any way obscure your true self. I even asked a question about this. The response was that improving yourself and being yourself can be the same thing.

There is a difference between striving for perfection and being obsessed with it. One is healthy, one is definitely not.

Foxtrot's avatar

@gggritso Your answer is closer to my thoughts on this than any that I have ever heard. Thank you.

phillis's avatar

@gggritso I intentionally left my comment vague in order that the reader could create with it what he/she most needed.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Pro: Achieving a goal.
Con: Losing friends because the same level of achievement is applied to them.


Pro——you aim for the best and though you may not achieve it, you will most likely reap some of the benefits along the way.

Con——when you aim for perfection, you set yourself for disappointment because true perfection is not possible.

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