How Perfectionists Set Themselves Up for Failure

Published: Mar 15, 2019

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Do you describe yourself as a perfectionist? Many of us do. In fact, perfectionism is what social psychologist Thomas Curran describes as "everyone's favorite flaw". Being a perfectionist is a problem that many people are all too happy to have. The obsession over every minute detail, the incessant second-guessing, the sense of motivation born of self-doubt—these are all qualities of the perfectionist that we as a society have come to admire. To many of us, perfectionism in school, in our careers, and in every other aspect of our lives is indicative of success.

In his TED Talk, "Our Dangerous Obsession with Perfectionism is Getting Worse," Thomas Curran explores what he calls the plague of perfectionism—our collective idolization of perfectionism—and how it can actually be a powerful catalyst for self-sabotage. In exploring the underlying causes of perfectionism, it's severe and negative consequences, and the growing trend of perfectionist behaviors in younger generations, Curran challenges our preconceived notions of success to a healthier and more positive mindset.