The Pitfalls of Perfectionism

You’ve heard that perfect is the enemy of done. But perfection’s list of enemies extends well beyond that. Vulnerability, freedom, progress…oh, and reality. Whether you’re staring down back-to-school season or just your weekend to-do list, take a breather with today’s edition of Summer Fridays. We’ve rounded up the best stories about the sneaky ways perfectionism influences our lives—and how to break free.

The Age of Envy: How to Be Happy when Everyone Else’s Life Looks Perfect
Moya Sarner, The Guardian
Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us. Is there any way for people to curb their resentment?

In Defense of Being Average
Mark Manson
Despite society’s obsession with perfection, many of us fall somewhere in the middle of the curve.

My Perfect Pictures and the Pain Behind Them
Reema Zaman, Narratively
As an actress and model, I presented whatever the world wanted me to be. But there was so much more to my story.

The Japanese Art Principle That Teaches How to Work With Failure
Ephrat Livni, Quartz
Kintsugi, or gold splicing, emphasizes the beauty and utility of breaks and imperfections. It turns a problem into a plus.

What Kind of Self-Destructive Perfectionist Are You?
Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company
Spurred perhaps by social media, more people are classified as perfectionists. What are the costs and how can you break the paralysis that’s killing your productivity?

Get Closer to the People in Your Life — by Being the Best Mess Possible
Mary Halton, TED Ideas
It’s time to give up on chasing perfection and embrace our uniquely individual quirks and imperfections, says author Chidera Eggerue.

This Is What It’s Like to Be Obsessed with Perfection
Alex Daly, Glamour
From the outside, my life looked perfect. But in reality I was locked in a fierce battle with OCD, constantly struggling with intrusive thoughts.

It’s Okay to Be Good and Not Great
Brad Stulberg, Outside
What if striving to be great is what’s holding you back?

Perfectionism and All Its Poisons — an Open Letter to My Five-Year-Old Son
Matt Munson, Medium
The world isn’t changed by people doing perfect work. It’s shaped by people doing their best to improve or create things against incredible odds and failing in uncountable ways along the journey.

Perfection Anxiety
A.A. Gill, Vanity Fair
After spending $19 million on their wedding, and $85 million on an L.A. mansion, James Stunt and Petra Ecclestone have purchased one of Britain’s great cultural treasures, a 17th-century, $20 million Van Dyck. So, what’s it like to have too much money? Very stressful.

The Internet’s Not Perfect Either
Links break. Stories get taken down. But with Pocket Premium, you’ll have a personal copy of everything you’ve ever saved.