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#16: Perfectionism

In this episode, we unpack Perfectionism!  The good, the bad and the ugly!!  We use real life examples to explain how maladaptive perfectionistic tendencies can be and the directions we can take towards a more healthy, high achieving model for our behavior.  Enjoy this candid but real look into why physicians develop the former and have to LEARN the latter!!


  • rejects failure
  • rejects negative emotion
  • expects endless positive emotions
  • sets unrealistic goals and then brushes them off when achieved
  • expects reality to be perfect, when reality is actually messy

High Achiever:

  • accepts failure as unavoidable and an opportunity for growth
  • accepts, feels, allows negative emotions
  • sets challenging goals based on reality and celebrates achievements
  • accepts reality as it is and optimizes every opportunity to improve

Publications discussed:

Tal Ben-Shahar (2009). “The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life”, McGraw Hill Professional.

Also check out our article published on this very topic in Emergency Medicine News: