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Perfectionism: the occupational hazard of giftedness


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Perfectionism is an occupational hazard with gifted kids. If you would like more information, you can download the accompanying handout at Learn more at

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Perfectionism: the occupational hazard of giftedness

  1. 1. Perfection{ism} an occupational hazard of giftedness
  2. 2. Try as hard as we may for PERFECTION the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness.
  3. 3. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to FAIL in so many different ways. ~ Samuel McChord Crothers
  4. 4. What are some of the different faces of perfectionism? {According to Adelson & Wilson}
  5. 5. Academic Achiever I must get
  6. 6. or the world will end.
  7. 7. I Aggravated Accuracy Assessors exactness and fixation on redos
  8. 8. Risk Evaders If I can't do it perfectly, I won't even try.
  9. 9. Controlling Image Managers
  10. 10. I could have it if I wanted it. {but I'm pretending I don't want it}
  11. 11. Procrastinating Perfectionists
  12. 12. {I'm putting off turning in my work because a zero for not turning it in is not as bad as earning an 80}
  13. 13. Consequences of Perfectionism
  14. 14. please note: Perfection{ism} isn't always a problem
  15. 15. it can be healthy {here's how to tell}
  16. 16. ask these questions
  17. 17. does the child receive pleasure from working hard?
  18. 18. are the child's standards based on personal desire {as opposed to outside pressure}?
  19. 19. is the child capable of relaxing?
  20. 20. is the child's work mastery {rather than grade} - oriented?
  21. 21. the correct answer to all of these questions is {yes}
  22. 22. it can also be {un}healthy {here's how to tell}
  23. 23. ask yourself these questions
  24. 24. are the child's feelings about his/her effort based on external evaluations?
  25. 25. is the child incapable of relaxing or letting go?
  26. 26. is the child motivated by low self-esteem?
  27. 27. is the child unsatisfied with even a high level of effort?
  28. 28. the desirable answer to these questions is {no}
  29. 29. there is a difference between perfection{ism} and the pursuit of excellence
  30. 30. Thanks {I think}. But now what?
  31. 31. here are some {big} ideas and specific techniques
  32. 32. {big}
  33. 33. Excellent is good enough
  34. 34. strategies
  35. 35. this A-
  36. 36. A+ is as okay as
  37. 37. encourage {excellence and mastery} as opposed to {perfection}
  38. 38. from 1 - 5 assign each task a level
  39. 39. 1just make sure it's done {little pillows optional}
  40. 40. do your absolute best 5 {something really important's at stake}
  41. 41. perfectionists think everything is a five
  42. 42. when really most tasks are about a three.
  43. 43. {big}
  44. 44. What Ithaka has to teach us
  45. 45. is that it's not about getting there
  46. 46. It's the journey, and it always was.
  47. 47. strategies
  48. 48. kids need to develop these traits
  49. 49. and they do that through reading and hearing about people who have them
  50. 50. Try... Carol Dweck's Mindset Angela Duckworth's Grit Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers
  51. 51. or biographies (try ones about Ernest Shackelton or other explorers)
  52. 52. {big}
  53. 53. Don't be your own worst enemy.
  54. 54. strategies
  55. 55. although the following quote is true…
  56. 56. The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. {vince lombardi}
  57. 57. it is also important to learn {goal disengagement}
  58. 58. There will be no crossing this bridge when you come to it.
  59. 59. that's not quitting {it's common sense}
  60. 60. and then you prepare to re-engage
  61. 61. adults need to teach kids how to avoid self-talk mistakes
  62. 62. they shouldn't hear "I'm so stupid“ from us unless it's what we want them to say
  63. 63. develop an "ask,don't tell" policy
  64. 64. no one likes being told how to feel
  65. 65. Model strategies for dealing with {stress}. This is NOT the only strategy!
  66. 66. {big}
  67. 67. Just do it. {nike totally had this right}
  68. 68. strategies
  69. 69. there's no need to spend 20 hours on one assignment {doing it over and over and over}
  70. 70. don't turn school work into this kind of thing
  71. 71. because even a tea party gets old after awhile
  72. 72. Warning: due dates are closer than they appear Work is never done. It’s just due. Just DO it. paraphrased from Linda Kapfer
  73. 73. Be a Weeble and a Bozo.
  74. 74. because it turns out that a fat,round bottom is a really good thing.
  75. 75. Weebles wobble, but they don't {fall down}
  76. 76. we want to teach kids to rock back up when they get knocked down
  77. 77. Resilience is made of ordinary magic.
  78. 78. This little girl took her own cancer and used it to help others.
  79. 79. {to the tune of $45 million}
  80. 80. {big}
  81. 81. Sometimes, failure is a perfectly acceptable option.
  82. 82. strategies
  83. 83. If you get 100 right away, you will never grow. Don't try for 100 - try for growing.
  84. 84. embrace the Amish mistake
  85. 85. because no one is perfect
  86. 86. Adults must provide support in dealing with failure. {real or perceived}
  87. 87. Have a“favorite mistake” board in the house or classroom to share things that went wrong.
  88. 88. Practice Predictions worst, best, most likely outcome photo credit vjeran2001
  89. 89. "Eeyore," said Owl, "Christopher Robin is giving a party."
  90. 90. "Very interesting," said Eeyore. "I suppose they will be sending me down the odd bits which got trodden on. Kind and thoughtful. Not at all,don't mention it."
  91. 91. don't be Eeyore
  92. 92. because everyone is NOT really against you
  93. 93. Just jump.
  94. 94. Don't stand in the shallow end forever.
  95. 95. ask: is it my problem, or does it belong to someone else? {because there is no sense stealing other people’s problems}
  96. 96. What happened?
  97. 97. What is the problem?
  98. 98. What are you doing to solve the problem?
  99. 99. Is it working?
  100. 100. What are you willing to do differently?
  101. 101. Repeat as necessary.
  102. 102. Repeat as necessary.
  103. 103. Would you like to hear what others have tried?
  104. 104. Would you be willing to …?
  105. 105. I’ll let Voltaire have the last word on this.
  106. 106. The perfect is the enemy of the good.
  107. 107. Presentation Created by Lisa Van Gemert or @gifted_guru linkedin/in/lisavangemert