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Sure path to anxiety and depression
Huh. I wonder why it seems like the rates of those keep increasing, especially in young adults and teens...
I think it's part that, and part of the whole world being a lot smaller. If you had a skill in 1800, music, painting, cooking, whatever. You only had a small community to share/grow/experience that with. Maybe you saw a traveling musician who showed you some things, or maybe you had the opportunity to learn from the really good baker, but for the most part, you did stuff because you liked it, and you ended up being pretty good at that thing among your peers. It doesn't matter if you can't bake a croissant, only a few people have eaten them.
Now we have experiences from all over the world. A simple google search shows you hundreds of the best whatever you can possibly imagine. We're not comparing ourselves to average people any more, we're comparing our skills to the chefs we see on Netflix, to the musicians we see on TV. It's hard to be good at anything if you start from the knowledge that you're bad, and to work hard and to know that you're never going to to be anywhere close to the level you see around you. Now everyone has seen Chefs Table's food, and knows how good John Mayer is at music. Everyone is mediocre now, and we know it, and are trying to reconcile that fact with the idea that we think we're special.
definitely. i used to be really into drawing. my friends and family, who didn't spend half their days looking at other peoples' art online, thought i was amazing. but i felt like hopeless trash at it because i was looking at speedpaints done by teenage fuckin' prodigies. it's still hard to get back into it, because making art makes me want to look at other peoples' art, but looking at other peoples' art makes me want burn everything.
This is exactly how I feel about my own art. Makes me not want to do it anymore. But obviously, my brain knows that with lots of practice I could be that good...maybe, but even if I did, I would still be among more amazing artists. Anyways, nowadays if I do a painting I just do it to relax, without an end goal. That's why I like abstract art!
If I may, I'd like to recommend Ira Glass' video essay on taste vs. talent. My film professor showed us this during our first freshman class as a way to encourage us not to give up. Essentially, good artists often have great taste (appreciation for good art, ability to recognize good technique, etc.), but may not yet have the talent to back it up (not being able to replicate awesome speedpaints). The gap between when your taste and your talent catch up to each other is usually when artists with potential find themselves giving up. The way to combat this is to remember that even if your talent doesn't match your taste, having good taste in the first place means you have the potential to gain the talent, if you work hard.
In other words, try not to get discouraged! This happens to everyone, myself included. It's easy to feel bad when your art isn't as good as someone else, but remember that they probably had to practice a long time to get to that point. Keep working on your talent, and your taste will soon be satisfied! :) Good luck!
Artists = your own worst critic.
This is a random stranger on the internet saying. Keep at it, you’re awesome!
Or some boring ones. No fancy sports cars for us, just crushing depression.
The most we can hope for is having enough money to go to a festival like Coachella or Burning Man, try to keep hold of that energy and excitement we had in our 20's. Then be happy to come back to our own beds that's the most expensive thing we own.
As a millennial, I'd have to imagine we're going to have some epic midlife crises.
remember how our parents mid-life crisis was just up and buying a new sports car out of the blue in cash?
Millennials have a quarter life crises when we wonder why we cant get a 90k jobs with mediocre skills like the boomers did
Nowadays showing up well dressed and on time with a good attitude just isn't enough because usually there's someone else who's also well dressed and on time with a good attitude but they're older/better looking/more qualified
27 is the new 40
Being 31, I've had several at this point =)
31 here also. Just starting to have thoughts that I have wasted the last 10 years of my life. WHO'S WITH ME?!?!
I'll say this.
Something that these years, so far, have taught me personally is that there are no truly wasted years (barring perhaps a lengthy coma).
All my "fuckups" and poor decisions and even my random happenstances have contributed to my learning enough to where I could be the person I am today. Not particularly successful (yet) and not the best friend nor have I made my parents the proudest. But I'm better than I was yesterday and know just a little bit more than I did.
And even if it doesn't amount to anything in the end and I just go into the ground, at least I had the experience; even with all the perceived 'crises' I had (which may include a stint in the Marines, a bit of jailtime, and a fair share of substance abuse! hahahah)
Thank you for this, it was well said and I really needed to hear it right now.
Sounds like we've been through some similar stuff, I've also had substance abuse issues and lost almost all of my teenage years due to being on probation with a curfew. Thankfully I was a youth, so I no longer have a criminal record.
That's kind of been my motto for some time now. It's just one day at a time, and always trying to be a little better than I was yesterday. I think I'm doing alright really, but I'm going through a breakup right now and really struggling with it. I've relapsed twice with drugs this week alone after doing good for almost 2 months. At least I'm still trying to move forward though.
Mid life crisis? Bro I had a full on psychiatric breakdown at the age of 24 because I was working 16 hour days 3-5 days a week sometimes 7 days a week while being paid 15 an hour. We're talking a generation of kids who are having quarter life crisis because there's no end in sight for us.
Totally agree about the quarter life crisis, and sorry to hear you went through that.
These student loans and low wages are going to ruin a generation and this country once all boomers are dead. We need loan forgiveness and increased wages. At least we have candidates pushing that now for 2020. The debates will help put into everyday thought just like Medicare for all is now looked upon favorably by most of the country.
Yeah the amount of entrepreneurs that will never open a business this generation because of the incredible debt you need to go into just to be allowed to work (serfdom anyone?) is staggering. I bet that would be most of them actually.
The ultra wealthy live such vastly different lives to the common person. Not have to work scores of hours a week doing something you really don't care about is so freeing.
Automation can't come soon enough. Gonna suck while we figure out what to do and the culture in America is absolutely not ready for it since we still have politicians promising to bring back or save manufacturing jobs and people still lap it up.
That's the life of our generation, nothing to fight for, nothing to work towards, adjusting to the growing pains of the digital age and automation. This is besides all the economical and political issues the generations that preceded us caused.
No there's definitely something to fight for, a better world
You're assuming that automation will help rather than just screw us all over. What's to say that the wealthy won't just keep reaping the rewards from automation solely to themselves?
There comes a breaking point. The aristocracy of 18th century Paris thought that as long as they could keep the peasants fed, they could tax the working class and middle class and not tax nobility and everyone would continue to go along with it.
But as Alfred Henry Lewis stated, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” All it took was a year of bad harvests resulting in a bread shortage to make everything come crashing down.
The modern equivalent was an apocryphal statement from the Bush II campaign: "Keep gas in the tank and beer in the fridge and they'll keep voting for you."
I would like to believe this, but there is part of me that worries that the Nobles have gotten far more sophisticated in doing this. If you inundate the public through 24-hour, ever-present media with messages saying that their poverty is a result of other nationalities and races whilst extolling the virtues of the Nobility, maybe we just tear each other apart once the gas and beer run out.
An amazing counter to tearing each other apart was the Los Angeles teacher’s strike last autumn. The teachers also leveraged their strike power on behalf of parents and students, specifically demanding county-wide economic changes for communities in the district. They reached a compromise on many of their job-related issues. However, they were its illegal to strike on behalf of anyone else and their issues.
Also in the 70s, Scottish machinists refused to work on Rolls Royce engines/planes once they found out they were going to be used against Allende’s government in Chile.
We’re global now whether people want to admit it or not. Our problems aren’t local anymore, because the rich and capital have no borders. People may have to think globally for solutions. For example, it was calculated last year that every Apple employee could make $100k in profits including workers in China at different stages of Apple’s supply chain. Hypothetically, US employees could team up with overseas workers.
That's how revolutions happen. Rich people not sharing has a bad track record.
Exactly. Eventually we'll revolt, take over and set the country back 50 years in technology and all will be solved. Or they will start a universal basic income, everyone will be middle class from little to no work and the people who work to repair the automation will be the wealthy. Sounds like a decent world. We'll still need doctors, and nurses, and most jobs we have today, but the Midwest will start being the best place to live.
If the 20th century is any indication: yes. The wealthy will just reap all the rewards.
There’s a critical mass point in time with automation where the concept of “I own this” ceases to have meaning. I describe that time (which we’re nowhere near) as when the entire chain of resource extraction, production, and distribution of goods is fully automated with no human input. “Earth as a Vending Machine”, or EaaVM.
If we don’t stop recognizing “property rights” at that point, if not earlier, we’re essentially conceding to crown people as arbitrary kings and queens who were merely born into the existing ownership class.
Gonna suck while we figure out what to do
Massive understatement. Look at nations where young men have no money and no options and couple it with the rise in domestic extremism here in the United States. The gap between where we're at now and full automation where no one has to work is the best chance for a second Civil War or the rise of a tyrant.
Come on, you really think that automating the workforce will lessen the gap between the rich and the poor? That's adorable.
Hence why I said American culture is not t ready for it. But once people no longer have a job to lose it leaves a lot more time for activism and violence. The wealthy won't be able to pawn the worries of the uneducated on the left forever.
I'm 34, own a paid off car, live in a house that's paid for, work as a software engineer, and have this sense of emptiness. I don't exactly know why. I sought help and am doing better, but I still have this dark shroud that I experience the world through. Should I have been born 50 years ago I would be fascinated to know if I would have had a different outlook on life or if I would have turned out similar.
Technology is weird and I'm contributing. I had / am having my mid life crises and THAT weirded me out. Everything feels weird.
People (mostly) don't put their real problems, feelings, anything on social media.
Many of the people in my Facebook friends list beg to differ.
Does perfectionism lead to procrastination?
It actually does. One progenitor of procrastination is fear of inadequacy of the completed work. Causes a measure of anxiety; a person sees the end goal but, if they feel they cannot get there (lack of agency), they will put off doing the work until they feel up to the task or pressed by external stressors enough to start working. It affects everyone to some degree, but folks with executive function disorders are crippled by it.
"Perfect is the enemy of good."
"The artist does not get down to work until the pain of not working is greater than the pain of working."
This is true
Source: Went to therapy and therapist said same thing
How did you get around this?
Edit: Thank you for all the responses. This is a wonderful subreddit.
Dare to be average. I think there was a pretty good chapter on this in Feeling Good by David D Burns.
Perfectionism is a trap. In many cases perfection is not even possible, meaning no matter what you do, you're going to feel bad about it if you are a perfectionist.
So try being average. You'll find that being average or even performing poorly in some things can be satisfying too. That doesn't mean that you have to be average at everything all of your life, but it will let you see that you don't need to be anywhere near perfect to be happy or successful. It'll help you find the ground of "good enough", which is really important.
It's also important to know that learning from failure is a vital part of growth. There are many huge success stories that started in failure. There is no shame in it.
When I got back into drawing regularly I was using pencil and would spend 5 minutes on a single little stroke to get it 'just right' and then after 20-30 minutes of feeling like I couldn't do anything give up.
So I switched to pen because I couldn't erase and it forced me to finish the drawing and deal with mistakes. Finally after a few years this and an actual art class have put the pencil back in because no longer paralyzed about making a perfect sketch marks
Just start. Its easier to fill a page that already has something written on it.
Can second this comment. My aunt, who is a psychiatrist, said this to me me many years ago when I was in college.
This is my exact problem with my job, mixed in with improper training and the fact that I constantly feel like I don't know what I'm doing. I keep being told I'm doing things wrong and trying to fix it without knowing how. Endlessly frustrating.
Everyone feels like they're winging it. Copy skilled people as much as possible and keep a learner mindset. It won't feel like much is changing but small improvements add up until you notice people are coming to you for advice way more than the other way around.
I feel personally attacked. I won't do anything unless it's as perfect as I can possibly make it. I got a lot of flak in the restaurant industry for taking 5x time to quarter fold the napkins because I had to perfectly align the edges and make super crisp folds.
I notice that extra attention to seemingly unimportant details is a sign of a good work ethic and better end product. The Japanese are notorious for this and the effort conveys a sense of respect and professionalism. When I have extra time, I try to do the same.
Nailed it. That's how I always feel.
In a sense. There's a saying in Russian that roughly translates as "great is the enemy of good". I said it recently as a counter point in a meeting and someone after the meeting said there is a similar saying in english. It's "perfection is the enemy of success". Basically, you can't keep chasing the best or perfect end, it's not possible. Otherwise, nothing happens.
“Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress” is how I’ve heard it also
There's a story I've told several times, I have no idea where I first heard this but it goes:
An art teacher was teaching pottery to a class. The teacher divided the class in half and said to one half, you all just need to make as many bowls as you can. I'm grading you by quantity, not quality.
To the other half, the teacher said, I'm grading you by quality. I don't care how many you make, but the the one you turn in should be perfect.
So half the class started cranking out bowls, just going through a ton of material. The other half sat there with one bowl that they tried to perfect.
By the end, the side making a ton of bowls was actually getting pretty good at it. Their bowls looked as good or better than anyone who had just focused on making their single bowl.
The moral being that the process of trying and failing and completing and moving on, actually works much better than focusing on a single thing and trying to perfect it.
When I'm working on art or something and I'm getting frustrated it's not perfect, I try remember this.
I believe so. I often put off doing reports and coursework because I know I can't do it perfectly. I end up waiting until it gets so close to the deadline that I now have an excuse, "I ran out of time", for the work not being up to what I'd consider my normal standards.
If it starts to get worse, don’t dismiss it! Don’t tell yourself, “I just need to get it done” or “everybody procrastinates; no big deal.”
Do something. Get help. Actually, you’re better off working on reduction or coping for this issue before it gets really bad.
Or it may be a relatively minor issue for you, as it is for millions of people; it may just flare up in temporarily high stakes / stressful educational contexts, etc. But if you see yourself slowly spiraling toward more moderate levels, that’s the time for taking it seriously and intervention before it becomes severe and normal methods of dealing with it become ineffective.
My severe procrastination and perfectionism (or what I like to call, unofficially, “Task Avoidance Anxiety Disorder,” was so severe I had to take multiple breaks from college, had anxiety attacks before class, at one point lost the ability to read — took me a decade+ to graduate. Limped across the finish line with a 3.2 GPA down from a 3.75. Don’t be me.
Aren't we really judging people more harshly though? Just look at all the vitriol that is spewed over social media, it can't be just a matter of perception.
Aren't we really judging people more harshly though?
I honestly beleive we are, social media recently (and reddit) has a comply or die mentality, and its getting more and more specific about what is ok.
Its not good enough to be for X Y and Z, you have to be for them in this specific way, if you disagree about how X should be done... that's it. Doesn't matter that you agree on Y and Z, your gone.
This helps fuel the idea of perfection or nothing, if your social views are not perfect... well you might as well be in the pit with the scum.
You might like this.
Man that is so true. I feel like there's a new breed of person out there now that doesn't belive in contrasting viewpoints or compromise. It's either you're with me or against me, mentality.
The lack of empathy also reinforces perfectionism, nitpicking and win-at-all-costs mentality as well.
I've noticed that in argument on reddit, people often don't give other the benefit of the doubt in what they mean. If you write something that can be misinterpreted, it will be misinterpreted in the worst way as "that is what you are saying".
It is like debating on easy mode with level scaling. Not quite identical to a straw man since its picked apart from what the other person really did say -- just interpreted as them saying something so totally stupid that is easy to rebut.
If you write something that can be misinterpreted, it will be misinterpreted in the worst way as "that is what you are saying".
I think at least part of it is that people who don't misinterpret what you're saying are far less likely to even engage with you in the first place.
That may be a good point, selection bias.
The title of the post is a copy and paste from the subtitle and eleventh paragraph of the linked academic press release here:
New research shows that millennials are more perfectionistic than you may think.
In applying standards of other people’s perfectionism to themselves, in the words of the authors, young adults “are perceiving that their social context is increasingly demanding, that others judge them more harshly, and that they are increasingly inclined to display perfection as a means of securing approval” (p. 420).
Curran, T., & Hill, A. P. (2019). Perfectionism is increasing over time: A meta-analysis of birth cohort differences from 1989 to 2016.
Psychological Bulletin, 145(4), 410-429.
From the 1980s onward, neoliberal governance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom has emphasized competitive individualism and people have seemingly responded, in kind, by agitating to perfect themselves and their lifestyles. In this study, the authors examine whether cultural changes have coincided with an increase in multidimensional perfectionism in college students over the last 27 years. Their analyses are based on 164 samples and 41,641 American, Canadian, and British college students, who completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (Hewitt & Flett, 1991) between 1989 and 2016 (70.92% female, Mage = 20.66). Cross-temporal meta-analysis revealed that levels of self-oriented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism, and other-oriented perfectionism have linearly increased. These trends remained when controlling for gender and between-country differences in perfectionism scores. Overall, in order of magnitude of the observed increase, the findings indicate that recent generations of young people perceive that others are more demanding of them, are more demanding of others, and are more demanding of themselves.
I'm intrigued and surprised that the authors draw a link between perfectionism as they're measuring and neoliberal policy and political emphasis. I can see the link but it's not obvious to me that these are causally related. Both could caused by the same underlying cultural trend.
I wonder how much of this is a result of living in a fully digital age.
Applying for a job, getting an online date, or buying a house can depend on things you did while you were still learning to be an adult.
You better make sure your social media does not have anything stupid on it, or else that job wont hire you, or those hot singles in your area might swipe left. Want to buy that house, better make sure your credit score is good, and have abosolutely nothing close to a criminal record, or it might affect your chances of buying.
You mess up in todays world...it follows you forever. Your reminded to constantly reinforce habits that require near perfection to be seen as successful.
an easy study to conduct would be to compare europeans to americans regarding these stressors given that europeans are protected by the 5 year rule
every point of data on a particular person must be deleted after 5 years.
might just be germany that upholds it tho
If you think about it from a career/education stand point we have to be perfect or at least appear to be to have even a small chance of succeeding. When you need four years of experience for an entry level position or a 4.0 GPA out of the gate to get into a good college there is very little room for error.
"To sum up, the current study reinforces the need to examine multiple factors that influence developmental change. An entire generation does not, and cannot by definition, share identical personality attributes. The cultural influences highlighted in the British research show that your ability to be happy with yourself depends in part, but not entirely, on the happenstance of when you were born."
Generation blaming sounds a lot like parents attributing failure to the same experiences they lived through. Meanwhile, the younger generation is experiencing fears and struggles of their time that the previous cannot relate to. Our generation has so much potential to be there for each other instead of loathing ourselves and each other because of a label.
Are things getting more competitive? It feels that way among my peers.
It could also be that millennials feel this way due to high demands from things like technology perfection. Apps that have minor issues are often seen as inferior and unusable.
Well every generation is supposed to be smarter than the previous generation after gaining that generation’s knowledge right? Add that to needing more professional qualifications to have the same things as your parents plus people all over the Internet photoshopping themselves to look like 10s - it’s understandable that the pressure is high.
Yeah, it seems like everyone around me is on a race, but I haven't seen the whole picture.
Could it be the opposite? Where bad traits or actions are immensely magnified and blown out of proportion? So much so that any small flaw outweighs a great perk?
This is genuinely a thing - negative events are experienced more intensely and stick in the memory because they are perceived as a threat. Focusing on the negatives helps us to adapt and overcome so that we can avoid future discomfort
I feel this as a millennial and what drives me nuts is that it seems like even people who are too stupid to wipe their own ass expect everyone else to be perfect.
The media/society: millenials are lazy, killing off industries, overall terrible
Also the media/society: i wonder why millenials feel like they have to be perfect
The main problem with reacting this way to our environment is that it's contributing to the problem. If other people are presenting themselves as perfect, and your reaction is to also strive to present yourself this way, then the chances increase that more people will also do this, thus resulting in a problem that worsens exponentially. I'm not sure how to actually implement the solution, but clearly what we need to do is demonstrate to young people that perfection is an illusion, that other people's lives have no bearing on their own, and that it's not helpful to compare yourself to other people.
The most challenging area to make improvement is most likely in the work world. Capitalism promotes ever increasing fierce competition in the name of pumping more and more out of people, completely at their own expense, and to the benefit of someone else. It's at the point now where people are way overqualified, and working way harder than is reasonable for their own health. But employers can demand it because they get to pick and choose who is blessed with a job. If it was just a simple competition with no consequences, this would be more or less fine. But it's not - it's a matter of survival. We are sending young people the message that if they aren't perfect enough, someone else will be, and they will fail to succeed, and are thus undeserving of survival or a decent life. I don't see how we can improve this without challenging the basic premise of a neoliberal, unfettered, capitalist economy. It's just not good for anyone but the people profiting.
I'll never understand how people don't treat this more seriously. If we create an economic scenario that directly results in people being forced to push themselves so hard that they kill themselves, then we are effectively, as a society, murdering them. It's no different in principle than walking outside right now and shooting someone in the head.
This way of doing things is also counter productive in another sense. By putting such high demands on people, we're basically begging people to deceive us as much as possible. Do you want a good honest worker who might not be perfect, but has good morale and can improve over time, or do you want someone who lies and manipulates to make themselves stand out, but ultimately is not a very good worker, and will most likely burn out hard trying to maintain that illusion?
I've always been bothered by this pervasive mentality in our society of better, more, elite, best. It's like people are afraid that nothing great will ever happen in the world if we just accept that we're simply intelligent animals with limitations. We push athletes to constantly break records, and they end up with serious injuries, or mental health issues. Our bodies and minds having limitations is not a weakness - it's just what we are. Accept what you are. You can't jump into space, you can't grow younger, you can't lift 2000lbs, you can't travel back in time, and you can't do everything you'd like to, or that other people are doing, or what our unreasonably high expectations demand of us. And stop demanding it of others too. It's ignorant, it's wrong, and it's a denial of reality. Even those that do manage great feats usually do so at great detriment to themselves.
Well bad news fellow millennials, I’m gonna drop that bell curve on perfectionism waaaaay down.
Remember trying to get a job circa 2009-2013 when every employer wanted five years of experience for an entry-level position? The fear that any mistake would land you on the street with no safety net while being told that’s we should be grateful to be working insane hours for next to know pay is bound to leave a mark.
It's still like that
I would say this makes sense from the way millennial view their futures these days. They are constantly being told/shown that you can't half ass your life if you want to be successful. You want to be an athlete or musician or artists, you have to be outstandingly good at it. You want to be a professional in a particular field, you need 4.0 + extra credentials to get into the best college and get a 4.0 + extra credentials to stand out and get hired.
Obviously this isn't the case once you get to the adult world, but you don't really learn that until you get there. But by then it's too late, the habits of perfectionism are in place they're very hard to remove.
Social Media is cancer, I wouldn't even use reddit if it wasn't such a diverse spread of content.
I see 15 and 16 year olds crying themselves into a stupor because they have lost Instagram followers or didn't get as many likes as their classmates.
Facebook doesn't seem like it does any better. All the while, these companies are building dossiers on all these emotionally vulnerable people and using it to skyrocket their bottom lines.
All at the cost of our youth's emotional intelligence.
And that's why i now sit at home with a burn out, depression and ptsd at 27