Saturday, January 27, 2007

Perfectionism's Roots

Rowan Manahan reflects on childhood, perfectionism, and the workplace:

Albert Einstein very perceptively once said that common sense is the collection of prejudices we acquire by the age of eighteen. We now know that babies arrive with a great deal of their personality already hardwired in at birth. But don't tell me that growing up in a household like the one I grew up in doesn't have a 'nurturing' effect.I didn't have high standards when I came out into the world; I just had the standards that were 'normal' for the home I grew up in. It never occurred to me that you could use less than five coats of paint on railings in a coastal area. Of course you would sandpaper a door back to bare wood before repainting it. And it went without question that you would countersink and sand all screw heads ...

Difficulties between human beings occur at so many levels. I find it fascinating to watch the little Universes colliding when very small children are learning to socialise and to take turns in the schoolyard. I don't see the world of work as being much different. When Mr Countersink-And-Sandpaper guy collides with Mr Bash-Two-Pieces-Of-Wood-Together-With-A-Nail, it's not that either of them are wrong in their worldview, it's just that they've been brought up so veeery differently.

it all here.

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