“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”.
The Serenity Prayer
This workshop balances a healthy striving for excellence with a relaxed acceptance of self. It provides knowledge and skills development in developing a curiosity-based orientation to life and work. The modules investigate both the benefits and pitfalls of perfectionism. In a world obsessed by self-presentation and self-esteem (even narcissism), herein is proposed an alternative: that there is a way of being that is far better than perfect. It is being perfectly OK with yourself as you are.
As we will see, this does not mean one should not strive for improvement in our activities and strive for excellence. It is not about complacency or laziness. On the contrary, it is about how we value ourselves and disentangling that from our achievements. It is in this sense that we need unimproving – our value as a person is unchangeable, so we need to get off the bandwagon of self-improvement and focus much more on knowledge and skills-improvement (for their own sake and for their intrinsic enjoyment). It is also about breaking out of the loneliness and over self-reliance driven by self-criticism.
It turns out that this distinction between self vs task improvement is borne out in the research on two types of perfectionism: perfectionistic concerns versus perfectionistic strivings, respectively.