‘Perfectionism gets in the way of being good enough’ Oxford University Press staff notice board (Anon)

It’s not enough to understand when we are placing too much emphasis on ‘perfect’.  We need to look at what it means to us not to be - normally that we have failed - and then what failure means to us and about us.  Perfectionism escalates the pressure to do well and the paradox is we are then met with a shaky hand and a quivery breath.   This reminds me of the Zen story of an expert archer who is asked to shoot a bulls-eye; as usual, he raises his bow, aims and shoots perfectly.  He is then offered an obscene amount of money to shoot the same target.  His hand is shaking uncontrollably, the consequences of failure now mean too much to him.