Technology and societies across the globe are on a relentless path in the pursuit of advancement.

Medical innovation, transitions, improvements in infrastructure, enterprises expanding…

What many of us may not realize however, is that with every major step towards progress we take, there in the background is the mark of the perfectionist.

You might wonder then why the word perfectionist tends to come with such negative connotations.

Perfectionists have often been associated with delusional rampages, insane rants about things they consider incorrect and generally just stressing out everyone else around them.

Why does the idea of striving for perfection seem like a pain when it has proven to be the deciding factor in many instances?

Consider Steve Jobs, the legendary founder of Apple that has brought the personal computer and a myriad of technological devices into everyday usage. Those that knew him, by and large, considered him a ruthless tyrant that picked on everything from the size of fonts to the shapes of specific screws holding a device together. Steve Job’s legacy is a testament to the fact that he ensured not a single minute detail went unchecked.

Consider the fact that celebrated inventor and driver of social change Elon Musk, directly responsible for massive companies such as Tesla, SpaceX, Paypal and Zip2, was and still is extremely particular about the production quality, systems, interfaces and overall experience of his products/services. To the extent that a former SpaceX employee has spoken out about him being an over the top workaholic.

Whether we like to admit it or not, perfectionists very often achieve much more than the average lifetime permits, simply due to the fact that they put in an almost obsessive amount of effort and time to perfect their crafts and complete projects.

So why do we regular mortals hate perfectionists? Could it be that we see our own shortcomings when we look at them?

Is it because we don’t like to be constantly reminded of our own shortcomings?

The Bounties and Burdens of Perfection:

Phenomenal potential is released when you hone your ability to hyper-focus on excellence despite the problems that come with the territory. People (especially laid-back individuals) generally avoid working with perfectionists. A lot of times, perfectionists find difficulty in creating synergy with workmates/colleagues simply due to the fact that they are constantly pushing themselves and everyone around them to perform at maximum overdrive.

They sometimes fail to realize that people aren’t machines (like them) and factors like social etiquette and skillful persuasion must be considered if they want to gel with others and work within a team. We do have to accept however, that some of these perfectionists may have ADHD or other conditions.

The desire to strive for excellence is not a bad thing in itself but the ability to hyper-focus does come with downsides, chiefly in the inclination to turn desire into obsession.

The usual condition of perfectionists is that they are compelled to go the extra mile, even for this things that aren’t necessarily interesting to them.

If they start weight lifting, they practice perfect form. If they take up swimming classes, they learn all the techniques. Even if their hearts aren’t in the activity, they are still generally in it ‘all or nothing’.
Many perfectionists revolve themselves around the achievements they’ve made (a good number of them can be narcissists), inspiring a complex host of emotions, admiration, fear, awe, envy, hatred.

Others may look up to them and admire them or become inspired by their reputation. Not many people understand the grueling hard work and sleepless nights required in the path of perfection.

Perfectionists are driven (somewhat dangerously and recklessly) by an unseen force that seems alien to others. Here’s the secret however. As mentioned before, perfectionists can also be plagued by personality flaws like procrastination, sloth or laziness. Perfectionists may also hold on to an impossible standard, mortified by the notion that they will make mistakes and others will realize that they are in fact just like everyone else.

Another drawback of perfectionism is the overwhelming stress that comes with a constant drive towards excellence. Even small tasks and assignments that have to be done can seem like moving mountains due to the uncompromising personality of the perfectionist.

Nevertheless, with the bad comes the good and motivation, determination as well as persistence are sorely needed, especially in a rapidly changing, technologically driven world that demands innovation and excellence. The noble qualities of the perfectionist should be distilled and whether you are a school teacher, home tutor Singapore or college professor.

If they need someone to hate or blame, they can always target the perfectionists in us. But that will not change the fact; difficult individuals often make the best things happen.

Author's Bio: 

Geraldine is an education technology writer, currently serving on the content team at Yodaa, a home tuition Singapore ed-tech startup. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business and Literary Studies. In her free time, she researches on parenting issues, education tips and technological trends.