Task perfection vs. self-perfection.

Posted by Rex Alexander on Wed 6 Dec 17 in David Burns, Demanding, Perfectionism, Task Perfection vs. Self Perfection |


Dare to be average!

One of the best chapter titles in all the annals of Chapterdom is Dr. Burns’s antidote to perfectionism “Dare To Be Average!” from the now-classic “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.” One of Dr. Burns’s many important contributions to CBT is teaching us to distinguish between what he calls “task perfection” and “self-perfection.” We may try very hard to achieve task perfection, and naturally be disappointed when if our performance fails to live up to our expectations. However, success or failure at a task does not make us a success or failure (or any other abstraction) as a person. In other words, our essence (whatever that is), our self is unaffected by our performance.


Possibly a more interesting questions for CBTers, is CBT good for “high-performance” individuals such as Olympic athletes? Can Olympic athletes succeed as well by transforming “I absolutely MUST win the gold” into “Although I STRONGLY prefer to win the gold, it is not the end of the world if I do not.”

However, short of Olympians, for the rest of us, the later is certainly a more rational, healthy and helpful way to approach performance and achievement.










© 2017, Rex Alexander. All rights reserved.

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© Copyright 2017 Rex Alexander, All rights Reserved. Written For:

Originally posted 2016-08-22 20:50:01.

Rex Alexander

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I like bicycling, cinema, cats, veggies, REBT-CBT, et al, General Semantics & ePrime, Stoic Philosophy, and a bunch of other stuff.

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