Image courtesy of Dianna Bahrin at dreamstime.com When you try your best, there's a hundred percent chance of success.
Life can be overwhelming enough, without putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves to attain a certain standard. When we are bound by the shackles of high expectations or perfectionism, we don’t actually even function at our best. Ironically, the pressure we put on ourselves can be of detriment to how we do. The effects of this strain we place on ourselves lowers our performance, as we can get so caught up in details. We forget the big picture, and lose perspective. We forget to remember that all we can do is to try our best.
When our goal changes from reaching a certain level of performance to doing what we can do, the fact is we can’t possibly fail. You cannot fail at trying to do your best. Ironically, when we thus change our focus to putting in our best effort, performance can actually improve. No-one can function well when they are stressed. Not only does clarity of mind suffer, but we can become rushed, as part of performance is often tied in with deadlines. When rushed, it is hard to make good decisions, and impulsivity can cloud our judgements, and also our performance. We become anxious more easily, in case we do not succeed, and can set ourselves up to become depressed if we don’t reach them. It is easier to try your best, because there is less anxiety, and there is no self-dictated level of performance to attain to become depressed about. You did your best and that’s all you can do: it is easier to feel contentment.
There are also repercussions when trying to maintain these often harsh, but self-imposed standards on our health. We tend not to eat as well, or sleep as well. We put ourselves at risk of burnout.
Most importantly, when caught in the snares of a perfectionistic state of trying to reach certain standards; we are founding our self-esteem and self-worth on something very fragile. When we try our best, we naturally allow our values; our ethics, and who we are as a person to become a long-lasting source of self-worth and meaning.
To fight the entrapment of basing our self-esteem on our successes, we need to ask ourselves: is life a competition? Who are we trying to prove ourselves to? How worthwhile you are is not determined by the grades you get; the money you make or the position you’re in at work. If you asked yourself, why do you like your friends, I very much doubt the answer would be because they have attained such-and-such a position. It would be because you are drawn to personal qualities which you like -for example they're caring and kind, or have a good sense of humour. We like others because of who they are, not because of what they have achieved. Importantly we have to realise that the same is true for you. People care about you because of who you are, so why shouldn’t you?