Against Performance Pressure: “It’s Healthier to Strive for Excellence than for Perfection”

Mr Curran, you are a social psychologist at the London School of Economics. In your current book, Never Good Enough, you warn about the consequences of perfectionism. But without people who make the most of themselves and constantly want to achieve new goals, our society would probably not be able to function. Why do you think perfectionism is a negative thing?

This is at least partially true. Our economic model would not be possible without such a strong focus on discipline and hard work. For decades, economic growth has boosted prosperity in many countries, including Germany. But in my opinion, we have now reached a point where our desire for material prosperity no longer makes sense from an individual and social point of view. We still want to do more and achieve more, even though our level of wealth is already relatively high. The creed of continuing to grow without becoming happier or healthier is what breeds perfectionism. The pressure to do more and more and become more efficient leads to psychological problems for many people. As our research has shown, young people are especially affected by this.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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