From Nikola Tesla: “There are times when perfection is needed, indeed demanded: in space travel, delicate surgery, air traffic control or when calibrating a sensitive scientific instrument. Generally, for human issues, excellence is quite sufficient, and doing well generally works. But from where came the demand that human beings become perfect?
“Some might blame the schools: in a classroom with many students, there had to be a way to see whether or not the students had studied and learned something was to compare and contrast by means of tests, competition and ranking. Originally, or ideally, more praise was given for better work, and poorer work was a signal for more assistance. But as more and more was expected from teachers, with huge classes, minimal support, academic politics and sometimes unreasonable expectations from several others, the human interactions of student and teacher had to be pared down, pared down, and turned into brief possibilities of improvement surrounded by structures that allowed quick-check methods and little else. The issue of the low priority given to teaching, teachers, and such should be addressed elsewhere but I bring it up here because almost everyone has had schooling of one sort or another, and can relate to the situation of strain that has turned into a monster of perfectionism in some cases.
“When someone has OCD, very often the disorder is hallmarked by perfectionism: a kind of hyper-control is created because it is demanded by what seems to be an outside force. The actual working definitions of that perfectionism differ: for some it might be buying only one brand of tissue paper and one brand of tape to use to cover up those places, pieces of furniture, doorknobs and the like where a certain person, or a certain type of person, has touched only once, instead of the three times that the OCD demanded. The issue here is, again, not the what of something but the why: to be perfect, flawless, and therefore acceptable enough for the sufferer of OCD to relax.”