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Perfectionism (psychology)

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a belief that perfection should be strived for.

In its pathological form, it is an unhealthy belief that anything less than perfect is unacceptable.

Perfectionism can drive people to accomplishments and provide the motivation to persevere in the face of discouragement and obstacles.

Adaptive perfectionists have lower levels of procrastination than non-perfectionists.

High-achieving athletes, scientists, and artists often show signs of perfectionism.

For example, Michelangelo's perfectionism may have spurred him to create masterpieces such as David and the Sistine Chapel.

Perfectionism is associated with giftedness in children.

In its pathological form, perfectionism can be very damaging.

It can take the form of procrastination when it is used to postpone tasks ("I can't start my project until I know the 'right' way to do it."), and self-deprecation when it is used to excuse poor performance or to seek sympathy and affirmation from other people.

In the workplace, perfectionism is often marked by low productivity as individuals lose time and energy on small irrelevant details of larger projects or mundane daily activities.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Perfectionism (psychology)", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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