The benefits of not being perfect

The benefits of not being perfect

This media cannot be played on your device.

Many think that perfectionism is a good trait, but it researchers have found it can have a dangerous affect on mental health – and it’s on the rise.

You sit in a job interview, nervously sweating through every question thrown at you, and then comes the hardest one of all: “What is your worst quality?” Being a perfectionist is regularly thought of as a good answer – you might hope your fastidiousness will help you secure the role. But is perfectionism actually a good trait?

To be a healthy and successful human, you have to learn from your mistakes; and to be able to learn from your mistakes, you have to be comfortable with making them. But in general, perfectionists are not. They tend to avoid making mistakes by sticking to tasks they feel most comfortable with or overreacting to obstacles, feeling more guilt, shame and anger when they do make mistakes.

Perfectionism in on the rise and has been linked by to a whole host of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and self-harm. (You can read more about the downsides of perfectionism here).

Learn more about the dangerous downsides of perfectionism, by clicking play on the video above.

Join one million Future fans by liking us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.

If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly features newsletter, called “The Essential List”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife, and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.