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Perfectionism Revisited

About a month ago we had a commentary titled Perfection Addiction. You can find it in the resource section under commentary archives dated February 13 2006.  Since we have some new members we thought we would expand on that commentary tonight. 

Perfectionism is often the chief culprit when the pain of losing exceeds the pleasure of winning.  Desperately trying to feel good about themselves perfectionists set unrealistic high ideals.  They think they will finally be okay if they just accomplish a goal 'X'.  Goal 'X' could be substituted many things including looks wealth popularity or achievement.  Because 'X' is an unattainable goal perfectionists ironically use their ideals as a basis for selfcriticism when their performance does not match up to what they expect from themselves.  They think if achieving 'X' will make everything okay then they must not be okay if they fail to achieve 'X'. 

The perfectionist believes nothing is ever good enough.  For example even when there is a profit on a trade the perfectionists will look for the portion of the move that they did not participate in and be upset they missed it.  If they caught most the move they will be disappointed in themselves for not trading a larger position.  When trades do not go well perfectionists start to find all the reasons that they should not have made the trade in the first place.  By focusing on the portion of their performance that does not match their ideals perfectionists transform successes into defeats losses into failures.  They rationalize their perfectionism as a drive for achievement but all they are accomplishing is an undercutting of their confidence. 

Have You Ever Met a Nobody
Perfectionism will always show up as negative selftalk and selfblaming. 

If you are a perfectionist the way to beat perfectionism is to make a concerted effort to talk to yourself the way you would talk to a good friend in a situation where things went wrong.  Most people know how to treat others with respect love and dignity.  They just have not learned to do the same for themselves.  If the perfectionist was more nurturing understanding and supportive of a friend than they are of themselves in the identical situation then they would know that they are not being their own best friend. 

If a trade does not work out the constructive trader focuses on What can I learn from this not What's wrong with me The best antidote to perfectionism is the ability to reassure yourself There will be better trades down the road. The key is to not miss those better trades while you are beating yourself up! Nobody is perfect; I know this is true because I have never met a nobody.

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