Strive for progress, not perfection

Hi, my name is Ivona and I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I’m that kind of person that thinks about the smallest details, wants everything to be the best it can be and stresses a lot until that’s achieved. That is, I was like that, until I realized that my perfectionism is not a good day-to-day companion and I decided to do my best to cultivate it in certain areas of my life and try to ban it from others.


By definition a perfectionist is someone who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. Now I don’t know what kind of brain chemicals make some of us like this, but I sure know it can be exhausting. I was like that ever since I was a little child, or at least since I can remember. I would set very high standards for me and the people around me, which you can imagine led to numerous disappointments and a huge amount of pressure that I was putting on myself. As I grew older and gained a bit more experience, I started to see that this kind of behavior wasn’t very good for me. Sure, I graduated top of my class and perfectionism definitely helped with that, but I’m pretty sure I could have achieved great results without stressing myself so much. Not to mention that my social relationships suffered as well. Always striving for perfection also proved to be bad for my confidence. It is quite hard to dare to do something new if your first goal is to make it perfect. It’s not even that you do it on purpose, but you just set your expectations so high and you stress yourself out that you just end up talking yourself out of it. I decided that wasn’t the way I wanted to live my life. I decided to strive for progress, not perfection and to adopt the ‘make it work’ kind of attitude in my life.

The old quote says that the wold changes his coat, but not his nature. So, I didn’t manage to completely change my nature, and I’m not even sure that I would want to. I just learned to understand it and live with it. Perfectionism is still a big part of my professional life and I am happy with that. However, it’s not really a part of my private life anymore as I realize that I am not perfect and I will never be. So how could I demand that from others? After all, we are all humans and anyway perfection is boring.

Ivona Josipovic

Ivona Josipovic is a co-founder of The Smoke Detector, writer, fashion stylist, social media manager, curious creature, chocolate lover.

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