33 Responses to “I Want to Punch Perfection in the Face”


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  1. I love how you stated it so clearly. Perfectionism is about fear. I used to strive for perfection and, of course, fall short every time. When I decided to start my own tutoring business, I just had to tell myself, My services will not be for everyone. People will quit. But, like Rob Young mentions above, you can’t be successful if you put out 100% of nothing.

    Many thanks for the reminders, Courtney. I totally loved picturing you punching perfection in the face!

  2. A Tweet I once published…

    Joseph Ratliff ‏@JosephRatliff 2 Sep

    If you’re always striving for perfection you’re NOT good at taking the next step.

    Great post Courtney.

  3. My writing has always been hindered by perfectionism. I will punch perfection in the face by committing to writing every day – and keeping what I write instead of throwing it away or deleting it – and releasing it into the world, flawed and beautiful.

  4. It makes me sad to think how much perfectionism has cost me over the years. I’ve lost a lot of time agonizing over perfection. I’m punching extra hard for all the wasted time and lost opportunities.
    Thanks Courtney!

  5. Very glad to help with this Courtney, it’s a fantastic post – ironically a perfect resource to fight perfection.

  6. Great post Courtney :)

    Fortunately, I have never had to punch perfection in the face, but I have had to give it a few “bitch-slaps” every now and then (pardon my language)!

    I would never be mistaken for someone who strives for perfection, far from it actually, but I have settled for good enough and sometimes even great (when it comes to my guitar teaching and playing) and that’s all I ask of myself.

    I loved your definition of the opposite of perfection. It was, if I could boldly say…perfect! :)

    Take care and all the best.


  7. Jo@simplybeingmum

    The idea of perfection is subjective and therefore unattainable. Or more succinctly put – perfection doesn’t exist anywhere other than in our mind. And as we know our mind has a habit of playing tricks on us, the pursuit of perfection can successfully delay us getting something done or stop it completely. Why it does that is still a mystery to me – its self-sabotage. In fact in reading this comment back I know it’s far from perfect…and it’s tempting to delete it. But in order to throw a punch I’ll hit submit.

  8. I love this post. LOVE it. One of my mantras comes from Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo…he says he is “committed to exuberant imperfection”. I share that commitment!

  9. Oh, thank you for this! I struggle with perfectionism in certain areas so much. And some of the creative work I have done over the years fueled that by its very nature, the products needing to be competitive for their owners, which means the “fear of not being good enough” was constant. I want to get back into that work some now, but know I need to have a better mindset to tolerate the pressure and just dig in and get to work doing my personal best and trust that it will be good enough for the right people. It’s not easy, though! Perfectionism often leads to procrastination for me, which is another monster I need to punch!

  10. Love this post and the mix of ideas from different contributors. To punch perfectionism in the face I remember that I have to be willing to make a bad painting (or whatever) in order to make a good one. I tell myself that perfection is the enemy of done. I try to bring myself back to a beginners mind. and when all else fails I go for a walk to reset. sometimes all I need is a bit of time away from what ever I am working on. Not easy to do because sometimes it takes me a bit to realize that perfectionism has taken a seat at my table and I am listening to it. Thanks for the great post.

  11. Do you know the clay pot experiment? Reminds me of your post :-)

    A few years ago on a college campus, a ceramics professor decided to try an experiment on one of his classes. At the start of the semester he divided the class into two groups and explained that each group would be graded differently.

    Group 1 would be graded on the total number of pots they could create throughout the semester, with a minor importance given to quality.

    Group 2 would be graded on just one pot. They had all semester to work on just one pot so they better make it impressive.

    At the end of the semester, the students all turned in their work for grading. To the professor’s amusement, the 5 highest quality pots all came from the group who was focused on quantity over quality. In fact, most of the pots from Group 2 were terrible. They just looked like over-worked lumps of hollowed out clay.

  12. Natalie

    I was always planning and executing the “perfect” kids birthday party. I would make everything myself and decorate the house and colour co-ordinate everything and my cake would have to be “perfect” too. We had all sorts of creative and fun themes: fairy, prince and princesses, teddy bear’s picnic, cooking party, kids disco etc..etc..It was so tiring, and most of the time the kids didn’t appreciate all my hard work. So this year for my 9 year old’s birthday, there was no party but we took a small group of her friends ten pin bowling and you know what? We punched perfection in the face! We had such a great time, stress free and lots of laughs. A much better way to go!

  13. Wow, I think I have been punched by perfection in the face a lot! It’s time to reverse that! Thank you for this message.

  14. Tania

    Thanks, Courtney. I love this post! I always enjoy your words but I really love this one. Part of that is the imperfect powerful feeling in the “punch” title. You feel strongly and you let us know. That’s very cool, in a warm way. I’ll come back to reading this one again and again.

    I’ve recently started an imperfect blog. It’s utterly terrifying but much more enlivening than not doing it. I’m learning that I don’t need to work and rework my posts. They don’t turn out better with the overwork. Better with the cracks and the lifeforce in them.

    Thanks again for this gutsy beautiful post.

  15. Robbie Biyani

    You hit the nail on the head with this post, Courtney!

  16. Showing my imperfection…I was going to mention the thing I’ve heard about the Amish making mistakes on purpose since only God is perfect. But I went to look up the details and discovered it’s a myth!

  17. Shawn

    I call myself a reformed perfectionist. I often say my fourth child cured me! I am happier leaving the dishes in the sink and spending time with the people with the people who matter most to me. I prefer to dig in my garden than cleaning my house. Of course, I organize and declutter, but I have learned to be happy even when things don’t meet my perfectionism tendencies. I have heard that we spend time and money pleasing those who truly don’t care. Please yourself then you can please those who matter. People before things.

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