Perfectly Imperfect Reduces Stress
iStock IMG #948535942

Perfectly Imperfect Reduces Stress

I remember my friend Paul once asking me "What do you call the medical student with the lowest passing grade?" The answer is "Doctor".

You see the lowest passing grade is still a pass and the student is given the title of Doctor because of it.

We are living in a rather interesting world where people have a distorted idea of what they need to do and achieve in order to feel good about themselves. Often, they think that unless they can be perfect there isn't any point in trying. This can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and anxiety as well as lack of confidence.

Let's think about the concept of the Bell Curve. This theory states that approximately sixty-six percent of a group in any field is "average". That leaves seventeen and half percent as "below average" and seventeen and a half percent as "above average". It doesn't matter whether you are talking about students, mechanics, accountants or knitters. The numbers more of less apply to any category.

I often see clients who are struggling in different areas of life who tell me that they have low self-esteem and are tired of "pretending" that they are doing okay when deep down they feel like failures. They have invested time and energy into focusing on things that they cannot or did not do instead of on strengths and accomplishments.

When challenged to begin reaching out for personal goals they are hesitant stating that they don't believe they would be "good enough" or reach their expectations for success. But, with further questioning it becomes apparent that their expectations are unreasonable. They not only want to be in the "above average" category consisting of the top seventeen and a half percent, but actually think they need to be in the top five or ten percent.

The highest passing grade or acceptable level would only be doing as well as eighty-three and a half of one hundred people (add seventeen and half percent in above average plus sixty six percent in the average group). Put another way, as long as they are doing better than the seventeen and a half percent that are below average, they are performing at an acceptable level.

Now that doesn't mean that one can't do better than this. It does mean though that healthy pride can be activated at a level lower than what skewed expectations would demand.

There are so many things in life that I don't do well. I am below average when it comes to sports for example. But I don't use that to determine my value as a person. I believe it is more important that I am honest, kind and have a good work ethic.

In fact, I am perfectly imperfect and proud of it!

Are you measuring your value by only considering your biggest weaknesses? Are you ignoring your strengths when it comes to determining your self-worth and confidence?

Maybe it is time to adopt the stance that you also are perfectly imperfect. And be proud of it!

And now I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to a complimentary list of 10 Steps to Making Your Life an Adventure when you visit

From Dr. Linda Hancock, Registered Psychologist and Registered Social Worker

Back to blog