Perfection Isn’t Necessary for Progress

As athletes, coaches, and clinicians, we often strive for perfection in all aspects of our work. But is perfectionism really necessary for progress?

In this article, we explore the roots of perfectionism, why it’s so prevalent in the ACL rehab space, and why it’s important to let go of perfectionism and focus on progress instead.

What is perfectionism, exactly?

According to organizational psychologist Adam Grant:

“Perfectionism at root is a need and a requirement to be perfect, because ultimately we feel that we’re flawed that we’re defective and that there’s something imperfect about us that needs to be repaired. And it’s that deficit thinking that really drives perfectionism.”

This mindset can be especially prevalent in the world of sports and ACL rehab, where the stakes can feel high and the pressure to return to sport and perform can be intense.

However, the truth is that progress doesn’t require perfection. It’s okay to prioritize other aspects of life, like careers, school, families, and children, at certain times. The key is to find a balance that allows you to make consistent progress over the long term.

To achieve this balance, it’s important to recognize that progress doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Rather, it’s about doing what’s manageable and sustainable in the context of your life. This may mean focusing more heavily on rehab during some seasons, and pulling back during others.

And that’s okay.

In the end, the most important thing is to let go of perfectionism and focus on progress. By recognizing that progress doesn’t require perfection, you can find a sustainable path that allows you to achieve your goals while still prioritizing the other aspects of your life that matter to you.


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