In the Sharing Garden, there gathered people from all around the world. When they felt that they were suffering from the emotional flu some time in their lives, they sought help, complied with proper treatment, changed their thinking style, and exercised physically; they eventually recovered. These people were sitting around the tree and sharing their pathways to the recovery of the flu. Depressed Little Prince joined the discussion, learned the experiences, and gained insights.
Despaired Student looked pale and low-spirited. He always fell asleep in class and murmured in his dreams,
“No matter how hardworking I am. I’m not going to make any difference.”
“TIl probably fail the exams again. I’ll probably have to repeat next year.”
“This subject is so difficult. I won’t grasp the concept anyways.”
“Teachers only like smart students. They won’t like me.”
“Academics brought me feelings of failure, yet if I didn’t study I would be seen as a loser. That’s why I’m a true failure…”
The following are problems that students in Hong Kong would encounter:
- A survey about fears and worries of 11-year-olds in Hong Kong found that the main worry among these children was their performance on examinations in which failing grades would result in repeating a year.
- Other major worries included burdens of homework, pressure from parents, and inability to understand teachings in English.
- A study on junior secondary students indicates that academically low achievers would tend to display learned helplessness.
- Secondary 3 students had a more negative self perception than did students in the lower years.
- Some senior secondary students who had negative school experiences and recurrent academic failure would have realized that regardless of how hard they work, the outcome on the examinations would remain the same.
- These students were more likely to underestimate their own abilities and overestimate their mistakes.
- Academic performance seemed to be influenced by cumulative effect.
- In a study comparing self-esteem in Chinese and British adolescents, only a few of the Chinese adolescents agreed to the statement that “My teacher likes me.”
- Most of them disagreed to the statement the “Teachers tell me my class work is good.”
Ways to Overcome
- Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of being a perfectionist. You may be surprised to learn that perfectionism is indeed not to your advantage.
- Instead of aiming for 100 percent, try for 60 percent, then see how much you enjoy the activity and how productive you will become. Dare to aim at being average!
- Estimate how perfectly you have completed on a task, as well as how satisfying it has been. This helps you break the illusory connection between perfection and satisfaction.
- You may have believed that trying your best would mean achieving a perfect score. It is questionable that the model of perfection ever really fits reality.
- Wrong-doings would create fear and uneasiness. If you choose to give up your perfectionism, you may initially have to confront a fear, since fear is the fuel that drives your compulsion to polish things to utmost flawlessness.
- Try to focus on processes rather than outcomes as a basis for evaluation.
- Making mistakes is not fearful. Reluctant to take risks may instead take away your capacity for growth.
Burn, D. (1999 ) (3rd ed.). Feeling good: The new mood therapy. New York: Avon.
Bagley, C. and Tse, J.W.L. (2002). Self-esteem in Chinese adolescents in Hong Kong and Britain. In: Tse, J.W.L. and Bagley, C. eds. Suicidal Behaviour, Bereavement and DeathEducation in Chinese Adolescents, Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing Limited, (pp. 38-48.)