The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life
by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.
Published by McGraw Hill
We, learn to walk by falling, to talk by babbling, to shoot a basket by missing, and to color the inside of a square by scribbling outside the box.
For the last decade, Tal Ben-Shahar has been “teaching happiness” in his Popular Harvard University course and in seminars across the world. What he discovered after speaking to thousands of stressed-out students, parents, and professionals is that most of us aspire to a life that is not just happier but perfect — which explains why so many of us are unhappy.
In The Pursuit Of Perfect, Ben-Shahar offers a more realistic alternative. Applying cutting-edge principles of positive psychology, he identifies two ways of living whose distinct patterns of behavior provide an important key to our understanding of success and self-fulfillment. They are the Perfectionist and the Optimalist, and there’s a little bit of both in all of us . . .
- The Perfectionist views life’s journey as a straight line. The Optimalist sees it as an irregular spiral.
- The Perfectionist is afraid of failure. The Optimalist uses failure as feedback.
- The Perfectionist is rigid, critical, and defensive. The Optimalist is adaptable, forgiving, and open to suggestion.
- The Perfectionist focuses on the “destination,” setting goals that are overly ambitious or unobtainable. The Optimalist focuses on the joumey and the destination.
According to Ben-Shahar, we can learn a lot from these types. By rejecting the all-or-nothing thinking of the Perfectionist and embracing the more nuanced, complex mind-set of the Optimalist, we can learn to accept our failures along with our successes — and lead much happier lives.
Do You Want Your Life To Be Perfect?
We’re all laboring under society’s expectation to be perfect in every way — to look younger, to make more money, to be happy all the time. But according to Tal Ben-Shahar, the New York Times bestselling author of Happier, the pursuit of “perfect” may actually be the number-one obstacle to finding happiness.
Or Do You Want Your Life To Be Happier?
Using groundbreaking research in the field of positive psychology — the scientific principles taught in his widly popular course at Harvard University — Ben-Shahar takes us off the impossible pursuit of perfection and directs us to the way to happiness, richness, and true fulfillment. He shows us an optimal way of thinking about failure and success.
He provides self-reflective exercises, meditations, and “Time-Ins” to help you rediscover what you really want out of life. And he makes a convincing case that you don’t have to be perfect to be perfectly happy.