My husband and I were looking at a piano performance when he suddenly turned to me and said: piano learning made you become a perfectionist.
Until recently, I had no idea I was a perfectionist. I thought I was chaotic and messy until I realized that all the chaos in my life is actually scheduled to be perfect for me.
This is milk-and-water, compared to work. When it comes to designing an advertising material, I work on it in the smallest details, even when I’m not rewarded financially. I feel a kind of responsibility and I think it’s my image in the game. For example, I have some clients who pay less on design because my husband gets monthly money from them for advertising campaigns. They are not at all pretentious and they like whatever I do, but even so, I put as much effort as any other more important client and who pays well.
Okay, and now you’re probably wondering what does music have to do with it?
The hypothesis from which my husband started is: the fact that I had to study after a score, which I had to respect, as much as possible, made me become a perfectionist. The intense study of the song in order to come out well and the control over my hands and over the intensity of the noise my fingers pull out of the piano have disciplined me.
But it also has a connection with the chaos I’ve told you about. In music, being a perfectionist is not always to the advantage of the performer. In vain, you play perfectly, if you cannot transmit emotions. And I used to first learn the perfect song, then start to add my own touch here and there. I would change its tempo or accentuate the changes in dynamics (meaning piano, forte etc.).
Advantages and disadvantages of being a perfectionist
✔A first advantage is that I have attracted clients without looking for them myself. The fact that I have always strived to have everything set up avoided me from having dissatisfied customers, so all my clients are recommendations from other clients. I never promoted myself, neither online nor via print.
✔The third advantage is that it makes me dynamic and it gives me some productive stress. A little stress can provide a lift to productivity and make me not be happy with an unfinished product.
✖ A first disadvantage is that often the work done is not appreciated at the level you expect it to be.
For example, my husband does not care how clean the house is and I don’t think he ever came home to say “our place looks so beautiful!”. He’s rather impressed if we get cold beer from the refrigerator on a hot summer day. Or, another example is the clients who have no aesthetic sense or just want things to be done, not being interested how well it is done.
After making an effort for a client who does not appreciate my effort, I always get angry and I’m at the point of knocking myself because I haven’t learned to differentiate them. But then I start all over again.
✖ Another disadvantage is the time. When you are a perfectionist, it does not matter that the project extends over the hours of the program. You can spare your free time, maybe even cut it off entirely, just to get things done right. And often I am the only one who sabotages me with a project that should take 1 day, to make it last 2 because I found a spot on the picture or because the font does not fit perfectly with the theme. Even after the customer has been happy. But I always respect the promised term.
✖ The disadvantage number 3, the last but not least, is that I become very critical with myself. I’m blaming myself for raising my voice, for letting myself be seen as weak, for forgetting to save the project in pdf etc.
The things learned in the early years of life influence how we perceive things later and how we relate to others, but also to our responsibilities.
Modern society promotes perfectionism and sees it as a quality, but it seems that there are many types of perfectionists, some of which are quite problematic for themselves and others. I think I’m a moderate perfectionist who just wants things to go well. If I can do it well, why will I do it just for the sake of doing it?
Are you a perfectionist? Do you want everything to be perfect or are you a temperate perfectionist, anchored in reality?