To err is human

I have recently discovered that my personality type is Type 1- The Perfectionist. Whilst many, myself included, would simply assume that this description could be applied to the ‘neat freaks’ or ‘obsessive’ characters in their life, I have discovered that this is a myth- ‘The Perfectionist’ has many different levels.

Learning I fitted this personality type was a ‘lightning bolt’ moment- reading the description was as though my nearest and dearest had written down a list of all my best and worst qualities, my deepest insecurities and the things which make me tick. I was baffled. How could I be so easily unravelled and my complex personality, characteristics and worries summed up so neatly across two pages? But Louise, my mentor, explained that this is not what the exercise is about. Instead, through inward reflection and a heightened sense of self-awareness I have the opportunity to learn about the ways in which I am motivated, how I spend my time and energy, my view on the world and how I deal (or apparently fail to deal with!) stress, tension and anger.

Although sometimes a difficult process, Louise coaxed out my ideas and perceptions about my personality through insightful questions and helped me to gain a far greater understanding of why I am the way I am. However, simply understanding is not enough. I had to apply what I had learnt. We discussed what’s going on in my life: the stresses and chaos of 4th year, deadlines, job applications and my work-life balance, or rather lack of. I was staggered to see just how much my ‘Perfectionist’ traits have been holding me back from achieving all that I want and could achieve this year. My high standards are causing me unnecessary stress, overburdening me and eroding at my leisure time. I am so worried about ‘getting it right’ that I can’t see the wood for the trees.

Whilst I can’t say that knowing this is going to lead to an overnight change in my personality or my ingrained habits, I can now recognise and monitor how I react to ‘imperfection’ giving me a better chance of improved decision making enabling me to spending my time and energy more wisely.

Ellie Pinfield, 4th Year BSc International Business with Language

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