Facts about perfectionism and performance
While different people can bear with different amounts of stress, we all follow the same pattern where our performance is best when there isn’t too much/little stress (see the figure on your left).
It isn’t that people with perfectionism are putting in so much effort that their performance is very poor. Rather, they are putting in much more effort and stress than they need to, and could in fact achieve the same results with much less effort.
The dotted line on the graph shows that if you are at point Y , you can move to point X without any negative impact on your actual performance – just lowering your stress levels.
Wherever you are at, it is important to know at which point does stress changes from being helpful to unhelpful for you, and when does trying hard become unhelpful. There is no right answer and the point can change from one person to another. Also, if a person has negative reactions to perceived failure, mistakes or imperfection, it can have a negative effect on achievement, as in Soo-Lee’s case.
At night, she often had difficulty sleeping, worrying as she re-played repeatedly in her head the way she trained. She frequently told herself off for having lost time.
She was no longer enjoying the sport, because she was constantly worrying about improving her techniques. She became less motivated to train and did not do so well in her races; which increased her sadness and frustration.
For Soo-Lee, her thoughts of focusing on her mistakes and being harsh on herself were having a negative impact on her performance and enjoyment of the sport. These thoughts also led to sadness and frustration which worsened her performance.
This program hopes to help you achieve more by changing some of these unhelpful thinking and behaviours that are stopping you from achieving more. We hope that you can feel good about yourself not only by the things you achieve but also in other areas of your life so that have more choice and control over your life. Instead of focusing on performance, we would like you to learn to be efficient, which is about performing well with the least amount of effort so that you can better spend your time and effort on things that makes you happy!