Perfectionism is limiting


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Just a few days ago as the rain softly drifted down in wet flecks from the sky, I listened to an old episode of Back to Work on perfectionism. They approached the subject in a way I hadn’t considered before. Typically we can understand perfectionism as those who strive to achieve perfection to an extent as to work tirelessly at something until they can deem it perfect, or close enough, yet never quite seem to reach this ideal product.

Another perspective of perfectionism however, is that because someone wants their product to end up perfect, it actually affects how they begin something. They must find the perfect starting point or they won’t begin at all. In the past I might have merely set this down to procrastination, and while it still might be to some extent I recognised this aspect of perfectionism in myself even though I usually only acknowledge the former.

It drives me crazy

Driving is something a lot of people take for granted. From when we are kids, our parents have shuttled us here or there, from school to friends’ homes, extracurricular activities, road trips, the grocery story and so on. But driving requires a licence and the passing of various tests in order to achieve a full licence that can then be displayed with glory.

First comes the Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) for those 16 and over to achieve your Ls, then follows a year or more on Ls with what used to be 150 hours and is now 120 hours supervised driving practice (recorded in your log book). A provisional P1 (red) licence follows a Driving Test passed, and a year later the possibility arises to attempt the Hazard Perception Test (HPT) to achieve the provisional P2 licence.

Too much to handle? The car is still far beyond that finishing line. 24 months after that, the Driver Qualification Test (DQT) can be sat to progress to a full licence on passing.

While I don’t need to question the RTA (and now the RMS)’s love of acronyms, I question how anyone achieves their licence at all, but would be the first to admit there are people much more determined than me. I loved watching my dad drive when I was little, and wanted to get my licence as soon as I could. However when I understood the process, suddenly it seemed like too much work.

Konata Demotivational

Deserving of nothing but passes

However it wasn’t just the extent of the work, but also the fact that there are certain peer and familial expectations with it. Friends will happily brag when they manage to pass any of the tests first time without need for a second test and spread it over their social media posts like wildfire. While I’m sure there is plenty of shared pain amongst my peers, it is secondary to these others.

I didn’t want to be one of those people that fails their test numerous times, and the solution for me was to just not take the test at all to avoid the shame of failure. All the while hiding behind the excuse that I would wait until I was 25 to avoid needing to complete the compulsory hours.

Although I place much doubt on how much driving I will be doing in the next couple of years, perhaps it’s time to take this step. There have been many occasions where I asked myself ‘just how convenient would it have been if you could have just driven there?’, even as I convince myself that exercise is perfectly healthy.

Regardless, I don’t think I will be posting the result of my test anywhere so no one ever needs to know if I passed or failed.

Konata Demotivational by Vcorb1, on deviantArt