Explaining the difference

The following information was excerpted from Perfectionism: What’s Bad About Being Too Good? by Dr. Miriam Renée Adderholdt and reprinted with her permission.

Perfectionists reach for impossible goals.
Pursuers of Excellence enjoy meeting high standards that are within reach.

Perfectionists value themselves by what they do.
Pursuers of Excellence value themselves by who they are.

Perfectionists get depressed and give up.
Pursuers of Excellence may experience disappointment, but keep going.

Perfectionists are devastated by failure
Pursuers of Excellence learn from failure.

Perfectionists remember mistakes and dwell on them.
Pursuers of Excellence correct mistakes, then learn from them.

Perfectionists can only live with being number one.
Pursuers of Excellence are happy with being number two if they know they have tried their hardest.

Perfectionists hate criticism.
Pursuers of Excellence welcome criticism.

Perfectionists have to win to keep high self-esteem.
Pursuers of Excellence finish second and will still have a good self-image.

Reference cited: Dr. Kevin Leman, The Birth Order Book (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1985), p. 70. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Perfection is being right. Excellence is being willing to be wrong.
Perfection is fear. Excellence is taking a risk.
Perfection is anger and frustration. Excellence is powerful.
Perfection is control. Excellence is spontaneous.
Perfection is judgement. Excellence is accepting.
Perfection is taking. Excellence is giving.
Perfection is doubt. Excellence is confidence.
Perfection is pressure. Excellence is natural.
Perfection is the destination. Excellence is the journey.

—Anonymous (Submitted for this site by Dr. Miriam Renée Adderholdt)

© Dr. Miriam Adderholdt

Related resources:

Book: The Perception Deception: Why Trying to be Perfect is Sabotaging Your Relationships, Making You Sick, and Holding Your Happiness Hostage

Website: The Perfection Deception

The Myth of the Self-Esteem “Myth”
How to Stay Stressed
Stress and the Brain
Children at Risk
: Common characteristics and family patterns
Picking up the Pieces: Reclaiming our Essence
The Power of Discouragement: A Fable
Starting Over is Not Failure
Helping Kid Perfectionists Feel “Good Enough” by Michele Borba

Podcast: The Adversity Connection: Building resilience and persistence with Dan Deigan
Podcast: An Attitude of Gratitude: Magic, miracles and synchronicity with Judy Lawrence, M.S.Ed.

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2 thoughts on “Perfectionism vs. Healthy Pursuit of Excellence

  1. You know your title sez prefectionist?

    1. It sure did!! And nope, I totally missed it. Thanks for the catch. Well done. Thanks to your keen eye, it’s been fixed!

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