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Little Find

Mr. and Mrs. Perfect

Perfectionism has been growing fast over the past 25 years… and that isn’t good news! An analysis of 27 studies involving a total of 25,000 participants has revealed that we have the highest level of perfectionism on record, especially among the younger generations.

Why should we be worried? Perfectionism may seem desirable because it’s associated with the positive behaviors of self-betterment and high standards. At the same time, there is a neurotic side to it, and it is closely related to depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders and suicidal behaviors. And if that wasn’t enough, these disorders – which affect men and women in equal measure – get worse as we get older and are responsible for numerous instances of burnout. 
Who are the culprits? 

  • Parents who are over-protective with excessive expectations. 
  • Social networks and, more generally, Western culture, both of which present inaccessible, unrealistic models. 

To break this destructive tendency, put a higher price on effort and discipline rather than perfection. Get into the habit of learning from your mistakes, and give your children unconditional love: show them that you love them just as they are whether they are doing well or not. 

To go further

«Young people drowning in a rising tide of perfectionism»

by Simon Sherry and Martin M. Smith (The Conversation, 2019).

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.