Perfection is an illusion: There will never be a right time to start.

At some point in our lives, we have all wanted to be perfect at the things we love. However, perfection is an illusion holding you back from success. Today we’ll focus on how chasing perfection causes paralysis when making decisions. I won’t leave you empty-handed though, we’ll finish off with 3 ways to overcome this mentality.

Chasing perfection before you start 

perfection is an illusion

If I just wait till everything is perfect, then I can start. Every single time I start a new project, this thought pops into my head. The way I see it, at the beginning of a task, there are endless possibilities. So many things that need to be done perfectly. This overload of choice leads to what psychologists call analysis paralysis.

It often comes about because of the illusion of perfection in our minds. We have already envisioned the perfect outcome, and so we adopt an all-or-nothing mentality. If I can’t get to the point of perfection, then why even bother putting the effort in? 

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The Science of Analysis Paralysis(

My experience with perfectionism and analysis paralysis

The most recent example of this happening to me, was when I decided to create this blog. I had hundreds of blog post ideas and design themes. The problem was that these ideas never amounted to anything. They were all stuck in my head as I could never make a decision.

Do I pick a red background or a plain white background? What font would go well with that background? How often do I need to post on the blog? Do I need to post the same amount on social media? Can I really do this? The thought of having to make all these decisions terrified me. 

So, I procrastinated. The weather isn’t looking great today, I’ll start next week. I’d take any excuse to avoid taking action. Why? I originally thought that it was because I was simply lazy. But it goes deeper than that. 

See, growing up, I lived in a household where being perfect was rewarded. If you got good grades, then you were given more freedom to do whatever you wanted. If you didn’t, well that was a different story. To put it simply, you were shamed. Not overtly enough to be abusive, but subtly enough to leave an impression. 

As a result, I learned very early on that perfection equalled being of a higher value. Anything short of that was a complete failure. There was no in-between, and so my fear of failure was born. As an adult now, this fear never really went away. In fact, to this day, I still hesitate to begin new projects because I’m terrified of the implications of failure. So what am I doing to deal with this?

3 ways to overcome analysis paralysis 

Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize. 

If the desire to be perfect is keeping you from starting a task then you need to simplify the process. Ask yourself. What are the core things that need to get done? Let’s try an exercise.

  • Take a piece of paper.
  • Note that 10 important tasks. 
  • Reduce the tasks on that list to 5. 
  • Then reduce it further to 3.

It’s such a simple task, yet incredibly effective. It shows you what is truly important. For this blog, my 3 core tasks were to pick a topic to write about, choose a domain name and buy website hosting. All mammoth tasks to be completed but I eliminated tasks such as choosing the right font as it simply wasn’t a big enough priority.

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Essentialism: Do Less, But Do It Better – The Insignificant Soul (

Set deadlines 

perfection is an illusion

Time waits for no one. I believe setting hard deadlines for yourself is a good way to spur you into action. However, the key to making this work is to be realistic. 

I’m going to write 10,000 quality words in the next 6 hours. Impossible. When you set unrealistic expectations like this, you’re more likely to experience even more anxiety because you’ve set yourself up to fail.

Instead, take an honest look at yourself. What have you done in the past? Under what conditions were you the most successful? Once you have a good understanding of your work patterns, then you can set attainable deadlines.

Related posts:

Set the Deadline to Achieve Your Goals – Weidel on Winning

How Students Can Achieve Goals by Setting Deadlines (

Get comfortable with failure 

Perfection is an illusion we create to distract ourselves from the real issue. The fear of failure. We’re so desperate to appear successful to the world that we won’t risk starting something new if it has the potential to fail. We care way too much what our friends will think. What our partners will think. What our parents will think..

So, how do we change that? Change our perspective on failure. Everyone fails. However, what makes a failure meaningful is how we choose to react to it. There are so many famous people in history that failed multiple times. However, what turned that failure into a success was the fact that they never gave up.

My favorite example is the Wright brothers. They had countless failed attempts at creating aircrafts before they finally got it right. Each time they failed, they made minor improvements to their work.

If they had decided to never test out their aircrafts, they would never have found out what needed to improve. Their failures were a fundamental part of their success. They realized that failure was never the end, it was simply the beginning of change.

If you’re curious to know how well you cope with failure, then I’d recommend taking this short quiz!

Quiz – The Insignificant Soul

Related Post:

5 Famous Failures In History That You Didn’t Know About – The Insignificant Soul (

Is Failure A Part Of Success? The Honest Truth – The Insignificant Soul (


It took me a long time to realize that perfection is an illusion. I was never going to meet the unrealistic standards I set for myself. It’s fine to start a project not being 100% sure you’ll succeed. You don’t have to be 100% healed from a past relationship to get into a new one. Starting now is better than never starting. 

So what do you think? Is perfection an illusion? Do you think it’s even possible to achieve it? Do you hesitate before starting new projects? Let me know in the comments below. I’m curious! 

If you enjoyed reading, then do share it with your friends and family! Also, make sure to sign up to our email list. I hope you have a great week!

16 Replies to “Perfection is an illusion: There will never be a right time to start.”

  1. I’ve given up on perfection a long time ago. I’m never satisfied with the end product I produce, I could always do better, do more, do, do, do and even if I had all the time in the world, lm sure i would still I could do better. So, I give myself a time line, x days, x hours, whatever, and after that it’s time to be done. Others won’t see the flaws I do, and I’m ok with that too.

  2. This is some great information! I struggle with thinking things have to be perfect to put them out there for others to see. Thank you for the amazing post!

  3. Thank you for sharing this! Sometimes I have to remind myself it’s ok if things are not perfect. It always better to start now and see where it takes you.

  4. This is incredibly helpful! I have anxiety and a side effect of that is perfectionism…I’ve been working to overcome it, and I will start implementing these tips!

    1. The goal post will always change though. Once you achieve more, you will end up wanting more. It’s an illusion because it’s something that you create in your head. What’s a perfect business? A perfect body? A perfect personality? It doesn’t exist in my opinion.

  5. I can really relate to this. I have a terminally ill child and the pressure of everyone watching you forces you to pay attention to things that should be of no consequence

  6. Here is the point. “We are not lazy, we are afraid of failure”. I am hundred percent agree with this. Simply loved you style of analysing the situation without being paralyzed 💓😇 thanks for the post

  7. Good content. Fear and doubts are normal to be in anyone’s mind, the most effective way that I find working is to understand, you will have to ‘work your process’ in order for you to get wherever you want to.

    The “Illusion of Perfection” kills people’s dreams before they even start – it’s because of the “Illusion of Perfect Time”. Have a great book coming soon about this, which gives a clear picture that just like “Dreams without deadlines are dead…”, so does someone waiting for the right time.
    The reason of deadlines is because whatever you’re working on will only be complete if you work before the deadline.

    And that’s your process.

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