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An imperfect world plagued by a perfect dream

Students across America strive for an ideal that doesn’t exist

Samantha margot, Staff Reporter
Originally published March 8, 2019

Samantha Margot

Samantha Margot

Perfectionism is something everyone has admitted to more than once in life. Students and adults alike stare at the simplest mistake in despair. Some tell themselves to fix it and proceed to, either making it worse or actually satisfying the growing monster that is perfectionism.

It is the belief that there is a perfect ideal that exists in the world, something we see disproven every day. People are not perfect, ideologies are not perfect, religion is not perfect, technology is not perfect.

Society pushes people to accept their uniqueness and be proud that every person, place and thing is different. When it comes to our athletic prowess, our academic success, any work in general, we strive for perfection.

I hate to break it to the men and women who jokingly call themselves perfectionists, ignoring that it severely prohibits them from moving on with projects in life: perfection is unnatural and unachievable for humans.

Stephanie McCranie, author of “Mal and Chad,” a Calvin and Hobbes-style comic book, is often quoted saying, “the master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” Making mistakes is being human and grounding yourself in reality and accepting that we learn from the blunders we make.

Senior Savannah Myers told of her ongoing affair with perfection, “Realistically I know it’s something I can do,” Myers said. “But in my brain I turn it into something that’s a lot bigger than it actually is. I find myself thinking if I can’t do this perfectly, I won’t do it right now and then it ends up with me putting it off and procrastinating.”

Procrastination: another word we’re familiar with. The bane of ours and our teachers existence. If only we could conquer it by putting away distractions, get a full eight hours of sleep and turning assignments in on time.

Talking the talk is a lot harder than walking the walk. It’s easy to give advice when you suffer from the same afflictions, it’s hard to open your ears and listen subsequently following through with the change.

“It’s a really hard mindset to undo, it takes hard work, and it definitely feels like the culture is enforcing it rather than dissuading from it,” Myers said. “It’s difficult when you’re being told to do really well; get into a good college, get a job, have a good future.”

For students, the idea of the perfect score will always loom above us whether we acknowledge it or not. Some think they can achieve it and take that challenge head on, but it’s important to recognize when that challenge starts to overwhelm.

While the idea of making or being something perfect is nice to entertain, perfectionism is not something that is healthy for human beings. It is a fixed mindset–perfectionism is all or nothing.

Fixed mindsets often impede health down the line after stunting the growth of skill development. Recognizing how the perfect ideal is affecting your mental and often times, physical health, could save you later in life.

“Learning to understand what your perfectionism is doing to you, learning how it can be helpful because sometimes it’s that motivation to do well,” Myers said. “When it gets to the point that it’s overwhelming, you need to step back, let it go, let yourself be human. We can’t all be perfect and if we keep striving for it we’re going to burn out.”

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An imperfect world plagued by a perfect dream