Flourishing in Life, Work and Careers
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Flourishing in Life, Work and Careers

Individual Wellbeing and Career Experiences

Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Kathryn M. Page and Cary Cooper

Happiness in one aspect of our life can positively impact upon our satisfaction within other domains of our life. The opposite also rings true. Today’s generation of working people have often been called the generation who want it all. But can we really have it all? And at what cost to our and others’ happiness? Flourishing in Life, Work and Careers explores ways in which contemporary working people can thrive in a complex, volatile and uncertain world. Combining both research and practice, the contributors of this book cover all bases from individual wellbeing, family, work and career experiences, to leadership. They conclude by providing the reader with tools to combine what they have learnt and apply it to their own lives.
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Chapter 3: Managing perfectionism and the excessive striving that undermines flourishing: implications for leading the perfect life

Gordon L. Flett and Paul L. Hewitt


One of life’s great ironies is that trying to be perfect and striving to have the perfect life can actually result in just the opposite. Many people live their lives according to the formula that if they can just be perfect, including being perfectly successful, then they will be happy and they will be loved, admired, and respected by the people who matter to them. Unfortunately, in most instances, this is not the case. Even in those rare instances when perfection is attained, there is no guarantee that this will result in appreciable improvements in how the perfectionist is treated and regarded by significant others. Another problem is that achieving perfection can often add additional pressure for the perfectionists, who now feel that they must prove that the first time was no fluke. Finally, a third problem is that attaining perfectionism may not ameliorate the self-doubts and nagging feelings of inferiority that result in compulsive striving to be perfect.

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