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  • Writer's pictureCathy Borg

Perfectionism leads to procrastination; Or those who never make mistakes, rarely make anything.

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

Which Student are you?

Read this modern day fable . . .

“In their book Art and Fear David Bayles and Ted Orland tell the story of a ceramics teacher who announced on the opening day of class that he was dividing the students into two groups. Half were told that they would be graded on quantity. On the final day of the term, the teacher said he would come to class with some scales and weigh the pots they had made. They would get an ‘A’ for 50 lbs of pots, a ‘B’ for 40 lbs, and so on. The other half would be graded on quality. They just had to bring along their one, perfect pot.


The results were emphatic: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group graded for quantity. As Bayles and Orland put it: ‘It seems that while the ‘quantity’ group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the ‘quality’ group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

Matthew Syed from Black Box Thinking

In an Optimizer message, Brian Johnson begins with this quote from Matthew to illustrate the misconceptions of perfectionism.  The first, imagining that we must have the perfect solution before we make an attempt. The second, fear of failure prevents us from taking chances and learning from our mistakes.  An old saying says that, those who never make mistakes, rarely make anything.  And as Brian says ”Neither one of those approaches are particularly helpful. We’d be much better off to crank out 50 lbs of pottery than to try to create the *perfect* piece.  

Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination and indecision. Which student are you?  If you are ready to start living in the solution, let's have a chat.  647-761-3306

I’d love to talk with you more so please leave your comments below or call us and see how we can be of help!

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