Seeking perfection dangers mental health

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New York, Dec 4 (UNI) Believe in yourself. Don't take no for an answer. Never quit.

These proverbs constitute a major part of the cultural water supply that irrigates everything from motivating speeches to corporate lectures to coaching classes for competitive exams.

Several recent studies, however, warn against desire for achievments being taken too seriously.

A recent research corners a familiar breed of perfectionists, saying such purists were often at the risk of mental stress.

''It's natural for people to want to be perfect in a few things, including their job, being a good editor or surgeon,'' said psychology professor at York University Gordon L Flett, adding, ''The real problem starts when it generalises to other areas of life, home life, appearance, hobbies.'' Psychologists at Curtin University of Technology in Australia, found that the level of ''all or nothing'' thinking predicted how well perfectionists navigated their lives.

The researchers had 252 participants fill out questionnaires rating their level of agreement with 16 statements like ''I think of myself as either in control or out of control'' and ''I either get on very well with people or not at all.'' The more strongly participants in the study thought in this either-or fashion, the more likely they were to display the kind of extreme perfectionism that can lead to mental health problems.

''These are people who not only swallow many of the maxims for success but take them as absolutes. At some level they know that it's possible to succeed after falling short. The trouble is that falling short still reeks of mediocrity; for them, to say otherwise is to spin the result,'' New York Times reported the experts' view.

The researchers cited a British saying ''that encourages people to show their skills while mocking the universal fear of failure: Do your worst. If you can't tolerate your worst, at least once in a while, how true to yourself can you be?'' UNI

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