Learn English – Are you a perfectionist?

What kind of person are you?  Do you have to do things just right?  Or can you do things ‘good enough’. Today we talk about style or manner of work.


Hey there. What kind of person are you? Do you try to do everything perfectly? Or is your style more one of ‘good enough’? Maybe it depends on the activity. Let’s talk!

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

When I taught French and German in the classroom, I often had students who were perfectionists, mostly girls, but the occasional boy would be in my class, too. So, what is a perfectionist? A perfectionist is a person who has to do everything just right. They want to do their homework perfectly. They want to get top grades, not just an A or an A-, but an A+. They want all the extra credit. 

This is a burden. This is hard. When you have to be a perfectionist, you work many, many hours. And it is not easy. I don’t know why some people are perfectionists and some people are not.  I’m not a perfectionist. ‘Good enough’ is how I try to do my work. When I was in university, in college, there was too much work:, too many assignments, papers to write, tests to study for. I was stressed.

So, I found a way to lower the stress. I would tell myself, ‘Maria in 10 years, this exam won’t matter. This paper that you’re writing, won’t matter. So, take a breath and relax.

One of the bad things about being a perfectionist, I believe, is that often these people have their identity connected to what they do. You know, we are not human doings. God created us in his image. We are human beings. So, it is stressful if you connect what you do with who you are.  I think that’s not very healthy. It’s not healthy emotionally, and it’s not good for the body physically. It provides lots of stress. 

In college and university,  I did things ‘good enough’. When I taught school, I did things ‘good enough’. I had colleagues, fellow teachers, who worked much harder than I did. Here in the house, because I’m now retired, I just teach online. So, I’m the one who does the cleaning. Here in the house I clean every Wednesday. I give myself two and a half hours, max, to clean the house. My standard, my level of how clean should the house be, is ‘good enough’.

When we lived in North Carolina, Mike worked from home and he would clean the house on Fridays. He spent twice as much time, maybe five hours every Friday, cleaning the house because Mike is a perfectionist.

I think everybody has to find their own style. And maybe there is another style. For me, I’m not a lazy person. I work hard. So, the philosophy of good enough is fine. If I were lazy, it wouldn’t work.   

Well, what do you think? What about you? Are you a perfectionist? Do you do things ‘good enough’, well enough. Or do you have another style, another way of approaching work, whether it’s schoolwork, housework, office work, whatever? Tell me about it. Leave me a comment below this video.

And if you would like the transcript, the written words for today’s episode, just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com. And you’ll find the words for today’s episode twenty-four hours after the YouTube video posts. You’ll find this transcript and others. Well, that’s it for right now. I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.

(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)

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