Perfectionism has become an undervalued trait and is considered, these days, to be a character flaw. I think that that's a shame as perfectionism, if it doesn't turn into compulsion, is nothing more than a search for excellence and what's wrong with that?
I'm a perfectionist, which you might have guessed, and I'm not ashamed of being that way. In fact, I'm proud of the fact that I strive to rise above the mediocre and the acceptable. I'm one of those people who believes that if you do something for a living, you should be great at it, not merely good at it. I don't think that it's good enough to run with the pack: I think that you should be at the head of the pack. I admit, however, that being the leader of the pack isn't for everyone. Some people are more comfortable being in the middle of the pack and letting someone else set the standard. That's okay too, however, it's not for me.
I saw a fascinating movie, recently, called Whiplash. It was about a young musician who strove for perfection and, through hard work, passion, and determination reached his goal. If you want to be the best in your field of endeavor, no matter what it happens to be, you must work hard at it as greatness usually doesn't come naturally; you must be passionate about what you do or else you won't be willing to make the effort that it takes to achieve excellence; and you must be determined to break through whatever obstacles are in your path and, trust me when I tell you, there will always be obstacles.
Excellence demands sacrifice, as well. If anyone thinks that Tiger Woods, for example, didn't spend many hours practicing golf, on a daily basis, as a child and even now, think again. The principle is the same for famous musicians, artists, dancers, etc. There's a fine line between the search for excellence and obsession and many cross that line, however, in my opinion, it's a line that one can cross, on occasion, as the goal is very worthwhile.
Although I, frequently, complain that I'm busy all the time and that I have no free time, in reality, I prefer that to having too much free time as, in my opinion, hard work is good for one's soul and, as long as you give yourself some downtime, it won't kill you. I enjoy my free time more because I know that I don't come by it easily and, with all the work and striving that I do, I've earned the right to relax.
I'm not setting myself up as a role model as that's something that is decided by others. I am just saying that, for me, it's very satisfying to strive and, sometimes, attain, that state of nirvana that is achieved when I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I've done the best work that a person can do in my chosen profession.
In case you're concerned that I put too much pressure on myself, you should watch me play golf. There are a few things that I do that I am no better than mediocre at and golf is one of them. To reinforce what I've been saying, here, I don't have the opportunity to play golf often enough to be a good, or even great, golfer.
The best advice that I could ever give anyone who wants to be successful at something is to work hard at it, be passionate about it, and persevere. I can assure you that the satisfaction that you'll achieve by following this advice is immeasurable.