Warning: Perfectionism Can Harm Your Creativity


{Image: Imperfect by mythlady on Flickr}

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”

~Mary Lou Cook

But your muse has packed her bags and moved on?


Your need to be perfect.

You want you creative-mojo back, but you despair that it will never return.

What can you do?

1.  Accept that your perfectionism is what stops you from creating and finishing a project.

You figure that if the finished item isn’t perfect, then that’s the perfect excuse for not even starting to begin with.

But by starting with a pre-conceived notion that you cannot come up with something creative, then you won’t.

Instead, flip that thinking on its head.  Clear away those negative thoughts and turn the volume down on your inner-critic.

Set your goal and remind yourself that there is no right or wrong.  Now go and design from the heart.

2. Take a walk and look around you… nothing in the world is perfect.

Perfection is an illusion and the more you strive for it, the more it sets you up for failure.

Recognise that of all the people on this planet, you are the only one who expects perfection of yourself.

And instead consider an alternative… excellence.

Excellence is worth striving for and it can inspire and lead to prolific and enjoyed creative output.

3. Try something original and new, and be prepared to face the challenges that the ‘new’ presents you with.

As a perfectionist, the thought of taking a risk on a new technique or project scares you.

“What if I make a mistake?” is what you often think to yourself.

If you don’t give yourself permission to try, to make mistakes and learn which ones are worth keeping, you will never grow creatively.

4. Acknowledge your achievements.

Perfectionism takes your self-esteem and gives it a beating.  You question your artistic worth and your talents.

Chart your creative endeavours and each time you’ve achieved one of your goals.  Then actually take the time to look back over them and see what you’ve created.  You’ll be surprised.

And above all – be kind to yourself – and give yourself permission to be imperfect.  Because, after all, only you are able to do that for yourself.


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