Being Perfectly OK

In this conversation with psychologist Sharon Bent we discuss the relationship between anxiety, stress and obsessiveness and perfectionism. However, we also discuss the fact that there are healthy and productive aspects to perfectionism.  This seeming puzzle is resolved by Elizabeth Lombardo in her fine book Better Than Perfect which distinguishes perfectionistic strivings (healthy) from perfectionistic concerns (unhealthy). The former is driven by passion and curiosity and is focused on process and task; the latter is driven by fear and is focused on negative social judgment.  We link these forms to Dweck’s Growth and Fixed mindsets and then discuss ways of using emotional intelligence techniques to practice converting these perfectionistic concerns into strivings.