Perfectionists make themselves unhappy.

By David Joel Miller.

Trying to be perfect causes pain.

Unhappiness

Unhappiness
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Family O’Abé)

Some people believe that the way to achieve happiness is to be perfect at everything. Unfortunately trying to be perfect leaves you chasing an unattainable goal. The closer you get to your goal the larger the gap between what you have accomplished and perfection will appear. Often perfection seekers become so focused on their errors that they become blind to their accomplishments. In students, we often find the B student is far happier than straight A student. These perfectionist habits can follow people the rest of their lives and create a lot of unhappiness.

Here are some of the reasons why people who aim for good enough may be happier and enjoy life more.

They focus on learning the big idea stuff, not every detail.

Students who attempt to get straight A’s often try to memorize large masses of data. The average student is more likely to try to grasp the concepts and may be better applying those ideas to other novel situations.

Outside of school perfectionists can’t let go of that focus on detail. Some parents are so busy trying to create the perfect birthday party for their child, the right napkins, the right gifts, the right guests; they forget to include some fun things for the child.

They enjoy what they have.

The B average student who occasionally gets in A is likely to be delighted. The student with an all A’s record gets one B, is likely to consider themselves a failure. Their effort to be perfect interferes with their ability to be happy with what they have.

Many adults are unable to enjoy their successes. The matter how much you accomplish someone else may have done more. Perfection is a yardstick that keeps stretching. When you focus on an imperfection, it grows to you can’t see anything else.

They can take the time to enjoy the process.

All A students frequently sacrifice their friends, family, and social relationships because they feel they must study constantly. Students with lower GPA’s often can enjoy a better school life balance.

When you focus only on getting everything right, the stress can become unbearable. The matter what you do you’re likely to be miserable. People who enjoy the process can cut themselves some slack.

They don’t need to always be right. Fewer conflicts.

Students who are driven to get every answer right find themselves arguing when they get a question wrong. Students who are less grade motivated more easily entertain other possibilities. They are better at developing learning relationships rather than conflicted, I am right, you are wrong, relationships.

In the workplace, perfectionists find it difficult to admit their errors, to themselves and to others. There are likely to develop resentments and blame others when things don’t go right.

They see possibilities, not rules.

Students who attempt to get all A’s are likely to seek for absolute rules. Other students are more capable kicking around alternative possibilities. They may better grasp how to apply principles to varying situations.

Perfectionists tend to have lots of rules for themselves and others. They live in the land of tyranny, of the must’s and the should’s. This inflexibility creates conflict. People who attempt to live life on the “good enough” basis are more open to change and new experience.

They can think for themselves.

Creative students can see how to take what they’ve learned and applied it to other areas and other situations. Students are motivated to be perfect are likely to look for the page number on which the correct answer appears.

At the heart of creativity is an openness for novelty and new things. When you continue to do things the way they “should be done” nothing can ever change.

They can apply information from other disciplines.

B students may know a little about many things. They often are motivated by trying to see how the past knowledge applies to the current issue. It may also look for ways to take what they are currently learning and apply that new knowledge to the things they already do.

Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities. You may well discover that trying something new will bring you a lot of happiness.

They get to know themselves.

Learners who seek internal validation learn because it makes them happy to do so. They’re able to test new knowledge against what they already know and see how this connects with their values and goals. Students who are highly motivated to find the “correct answer” may lose who they are in their effort to think like the master.

When you stop trying to come up with the right answer for others you may find the right answer for you.

They see things as they are.

Students who are motivated by high grades often believe that their self-worth is measured by their GPA. Students who are more internally motivated, avoid the delusion of thinking that a particular score on a test in any way measures their worth as a person.

As an adult, being open to possibilities, allows you to enjoy the process of life by avoiding focusing on who or what is not perfect.

They know when to keep at things and when to cut their losses.

B students tend to put the effort to get big picture ideas. They know that beyond a certain putting in more time studying results in ever decreasing returns. Spending large numbers of hours trying to memorize every fact in a book made increase their final grade by a point or two, but memorized facts are likely to be soon forgotten.

Throughout life knowing when to stick to something until it’s finished and when to give up on something that will never be possible is an important skill. Far too many people stay stuck in an unhappy situation because the only option they know is to keep working harder trying to get everything perfect.

One key to happiness is to strive for your very best while accepting that your best is good enough.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Father.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Fatherhood

Happy Father’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Father.

“We never get over our fathers, and we’re not required to. (Irish Proverb)”

― Martin Sheen, Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son

“My father taught me to work, but not to love it. I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh — anything but work.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Tolerance.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Tolerance.

Tolerance.

Tolerance.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”

― Robert F. Kennedy

“The highest result of education is tolerance”

― Helen Keller

“In order to have faith in his own path, he does not need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong.”

― Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Increase your self-esteem by liking you.

By David Joel Miller.

Raise your self-esteem by learning to like yourself.

Self-confident people

Being self-confident.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The person whose evaluation of you is most likely to affect your self-esteem is yourself. Part of building up your self-confidence is to become your own best friend. If you wouldn’t want to spend time with you, your attitude makes it hard for others to enjoy your company. Work on feeling good about yourself by liking yourself more.

Here are some ways to like yourself better.

Increase self-esteem by silencing Mr. Negativity.

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re constantly being put down. Don’t be the one criticizing yourself. The words you say to yourself are powerful. Stop calling yourself names. Stop beating yourself up. When Mr. negativity whispers in your ear, tell him to be quiet. Don’t allow negative thoughts about yourself to take root in your mind and grow.

Set clear goals for your life.

It’s difficult to get anywhere when you don’t know your destination. Set clear goals, ones that have measurable results. Make sure these goals are doable. Avoid goals like I’m going to lose 50 pounds. When you don’t lose the weight as quickly as you planned, it is easy to get discouraged. Tell yourself you will begin exercising 10 minutes a day.

Break goals up into chunks. Pay off an extra $10 a month on your credit card. Go back to school and take one course. Do all the small chunks, and over time you can accomplish great things.

Make your self-care a priority.

If you don’t take care of yourself who will? Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest. Include time in your schedule for relaxation and to socialize the positive people. When you value something, you take care of it. Show yourself and others how much you value yourself. Demonstrate yourself commitment by good self-care.

Insist on being treated respectfully.

Respect yourself and expect others to respect you. Give others the sort of respect you would want. Set boundaries on what you will accept and stick to them. When they don’t set boundaries, you lose yourself. While you may not be able to control what others say to you, it is in your power to stop being around people who disrespect you.

Your opinion about you matters the most.

Stop living your life by other people’s opinion. Do the things that make you happy and please you. Stop grading or evaluating yourself and accept you just the way you are. Do the best you can. Stop trying to be perfect and embrace your imperfections. Don’t let others opinion of you pull you down.

Make meeting your needs a priority.

Don’t get so busy doing for others that you fail to make meeting your needs a priority. If you respected someone, you would treat them well. If you want to have self-respect, treat yourself as if you deserve to be treated well, and then live up to that standard.

Let negative things go.

As much as is possible, leave the past in the past. Don’t be ashamed of what has happened; your past has made you who you are today. Don’t hold onto resentments. Live in the present. Holding on to the pain of the past maintains the pain in the present.

Expect things to get better.

Having a positive view of the future conveys the feeling that you believe things can get better. Work on growing your hope. If you find you are short on hope seek out supportive people who have hope for you. What you look for you will see. If you are constantly expecting something to go wrong, the smallest obstacle can ruin your whole day. When you encounter an obstacle, keep your eyes on the goal. Climb over that obstacle, go around it, but whatever you do don’t sit down and spend time with that obstacle.

Grow a positive support system.

Add to the positive people in your life. Everyone needs a support system. Some supporters will be friends, some family, and some people who were part of your support system will be professionals. Don’t expect any one person to meet all your needs. People who feel good about themselves have many relationships with others that make them feel good.

Live in the present, while growing towards the future.

Brooding over the past keeps you stuck. Worrying about the future will make you frightened and anxious. Living each day minute by minute can help you to feel competent.

Focus on the positive.

Whatever you look for you will find. People who look for and expect the negative find problems everywhere. Become a positive happiness expert. If you look, all around you good things may be happening unnoticed. Incorporate some of those positive events in your life.

Know when to cut people and things out of your life.

A healthy environment means getting rid of the garbage. There are things in your life that are no longer useful or helpful, start cleaning them out. If you spend all your time with negative people, you will have no time to make positive friends.

Be constantly learning new things.

Be curious, learn all you can. The more you learn, the more you know, the better you will feel about yourself. Pursue the things that interest you. Approach each day as a gift. Expect to find something good in each present.

Make your life an adventure.

You only get one life. It can be boring, or it can be exciting. Within your comfort zone, experience all the new adventures you can. Keep putting pressure on that comfort zone, and it will expand. If each day, week, and year, you do new things, your comfort zone will expand tremendously, and you will be able to look back and all the wonderful experiences you’ve had.

In what ways, will you go about enlarging your self-esteem this week?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Truth.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Telling the truth.

Truth.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Truth.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

― Mark Twain

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

― Mark Twain

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Keys to success.

By David Joel Miller.

Use these keys to unlock your success.

Keys

Keys to Success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many people have the belief that the way to achieve success is to find someone to open doors for them. Most successful people will tell you that you cannot wait for someone to open the door for you. To achieve success, you need to be able to open a lot of metaphorical doors. Develop the right skills, talents, and abilities to put you in a position to open many doors until you find the success you are seeking. Here are some access keys you need to acquire and keep on your key ring.

Get clear on what success means to you.

Not everyone means the same thing when they say success. For some people, it’s having a certain amount of money in the bank. For others, it’s having good relationships and a happy family. Your version of success might include building a company, playing in the Super Bowl, or helping the poor and homeless. Make sure that you are trying to unlock the right door.

Plan alternate routes to your goal.

Which door?

Doors to success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You may think that your success is behind the door that says, athlete. However, that may not be where you will find it. Very successful people often must open many doors. If you try something, and it does not succeed, this does not make you a failure. Learn from each attempt. One path to your goal is blocked, immediately head off using an alternative route. Your first business may not be profitable. Learn from that experience, and subsequent ventures probably will do better.

If your goal is helping others, you may find some people are not yet ready for help. The help they need may not be the type you plan to provide. Continue seeking to be of service.

Use success words and have an optimistic vocabulary.

The words you tell yourself sets a course for your brain. Negative words create a failure or scarcity mindset. Don’t tell yourself you have failed. Tell yourself you completed another leg of your journey. If you tell yourself, you can’t, you won’t. Don’t say “if I ever succeed.” Tell yourself repeatedly “when I succeed.”

Picture your goal already accomplished.

You can’t build a building from an unclear blueprint. You can’t create success until you have a clear image of what that successful look like. Each day as you move toward your goals, picture in your mind what it will look like when you reach that objective.

Make time for happiness.

If the journey toward success is full of pain and unhappiness, you are likely to abandon the trip. Enjoy the journey. Behind each door, you open, expect to find some happiness and joy.

Believe that good things are possible, it is a just world.

A positive attitude is an essential tool for creating success. Your brain will resist creating something you do not believe is possible. If you cannot believe that hard work is rewarded, that good things can happen to you; your brain will be unable to create the actions needed to make your success a reality. If you do not believe in yourself, begin by working on you.

Hold onto your dream.

To have success, you need to have a big dream. Hold onto your dream, your belief in yourself and the rightness of achieving your goal of success. Don’t expect the journey to success to be an easy one. Your destiny may not be immediately behind the first door you open. Even if you should be fortunate enough to open the door to your success on the first try, following the path behind that door will take you a lifetime.

Engage your passion.

The majority of all learning is emotional, so is the doing. If you are working toward something you are passionate about, you will stay engaged and on track. If your day is spent doing things you love, you can hardly call it work. Seek to make your life’s work also your life’s enjoyment.

Use confidence, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm.

In building your success, develop the key of confidence, in yourself and your goal. Create a large supply of optimism. Know when to employ tenacity and refuse to give up on your dream. Cultivate enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the key that will keep you opening doors until you finally find your successful life path. Once you have found that life path, success consists of continuing to walk the path you were destined to take.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Respect.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Respect

Respect.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Respect.

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

― Confucius, Sayings of Confucius

“I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect.”

― Mahatma Gandhi, Fools, Martyrs, Traitors: The Story of Martyrdom in the Western World

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

― Confucius

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.