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Student Blog: Face your fear

When Jasmine (Year 10), Lily (Year 9) and Isabella (Year 8) were asked to speak at Assembly, they had to confront their fear of being imperfect. Here is what they had to say.

“When I was asked to write this speech, my immediate reaction was to watch an abundance of TED Talks in the hope that I might gain some inspiration for something meaningful to talk about. After falling down a 2-hour rabbit hole sifting through the TED Talks, I stumbled upon one by Petra Kolber, who described her pursuit of perfectionism and how damaging this mindset can be. Although it can be a driving force in wholeheartedly applying yourself to something and doing it to the best of your abilities, Petra described how the flaws of this concept lie in how it completely disputes any form of failure or mistakes to be made in the process

This can be heightened as we are constantly exposed to other people’s successes, their perfected, finished outcome or the ‘highlight real’ of their journey. By never seeing or acknowledging the mistakes or hardships of situations, it can cause us to begin to fear the failure that comes with them. This can be toxic, limiting our individuality as we try to find a collective ideal of perfection that comes from comparing ourselves to others, as opposed to celebrating the diversity that comes with imperfections.

With all this in mind, Petra also enlightened me to the fact that instead of striving for perfection, maybe we should be content with a ‘good enough for now’ mindset, in which our imperfections can flourish instead of being supressed. Striving for ‘good enough’ doesn’t mean doing the bare minimum or not giving your all to something, but rather changing the often unattainable standards we have created by comparing ourselves to others, to standards we set ourselves.

I hope to embrace this mindset in less than a month, when I venture on my French exchange. I’ve recently had to accept that I’ll be arriving in France with a limited ability to make conversation about ‘fromage et baguettes’ as that is basically all the vocabulary I have. And although this may pose some challenges, I can’t learn the French language in a day. As long as I’m open to it, I hope the mistakes I make will help me to grow and learn the language.

So with all this in mind, I hope you all approach Term 4 with the desire to try and refute your inner perfectionist, embrace failure and adopt a ‘good enough’ attitude. Thank you.”

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Jasmine (Year 10)

 

“My name is Lily and I want to talk about the misconception about perfectionism. The initiative of ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ is important for many of us here, as we can be so fixated on a perfect life or the image portrayed, that we can miss out on situations and opportunities in our lives.

I believe Success Magazine reinforces this idea when they state, “Perfectionism is actually fuelled by an intense fear of failure. As a result, you often adopt a mindset of ‘if I can’t do it perfectly, then I won’t even try’. In essence, your fear of failure actually makes you fail.”

This is incredibly true and it’s why it is important to learn to embrace and accept new situations instead of shying away from them due to the thought of failing. An example: this speech! When I was asked to do this short talk in front of so many people, the voice in my head told me to run for the hills and say no. Instead, I said yes and immediately regretted it. I was so afraid I would mess up, stumble, lose my place, go bright red, embarrass myself… the list is endless. I realised that this is what the initiative is all about: the acceptance of being imperfect. The acceptance that you could be on a road to failure, but that you must allow yourself to take a chance and learn from anything that goes wrong.

So, I urge you to ignore the inner voice in your head that lists the possible fails that could occur, and instead, embrace every opportunity and say yes! I believe if we learn to neglect the perception of perfectionism, we would be a lot more satisfied within ourselves. Thank you.”

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Lily (Year 9)


“My name is Izzy and I’m in Year 8. I am here to talk about accepting your flaws and embracing them. It’s easier said than done.

Ideally, we should surround ourselves with people who like us for who we are, and don’t care about what we’re not good at. Not people looking for perfection because there is no such thing. Needing to improve at different activities and how we do things is a way to build on what we already know. If you were perfect, you’d live in an unrealistic world with unrealistic expectations. You wouldn’t have anything to strive for, making life really boring.

I’ve seen this play out. The rush on the morning of assessments to print out your plagiarism statement… you know what I mean! Or doing all-nighters and stressing because you want it to be the best piece so you get a great grade. This environment contributes to making you think this is all that matters. Perfect is what you make it out to be. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

In School, it might be competing to be the best at everything, getting better grades than everyone else in your year, being smarter, prettier than everyone else and being socially popular, to name a few scenarios. If you’re not, apparently you’ll never succeed and school life won’t be enjoyable, which is not the case at all! Those faults and failures make you who you are and give you the chance to grow as a person and be more socially aware, giving you a clear path to discover what you want and how to reach it. This will help you to be aware of your limitations and what you want to achieve.

It comes back to diving in and not being afraid to make mistakes. Or finding out what you’re not the best at because it’ll make you grow. There are always going to be times when you think “Why can’t I do well? I am a failure!”, and that’s okay. These negative thoughts are bound to come up, but it’s how you deal with them that matters. For example, not letting it get to you, not giving up, keeping on trying until you succeed and demonstrating resilience. Trust me, I’ve had these thoughts myself, but I haven’t, and never will, let them get in the way of achieving my goals. We should all remember in everything we do that striving for flawlessness and perfection won’t get us anywhere.

The prefects’ initiative, Perfectly Imperfect, will teach us all, me included, not to dwell on what we haven’t mastered yet, but to accept and embrace it so we can use it to our advantage. When we don’t do as well as we wanted, this will make it easier to take it in our stride and keep pushing forward.

When you experience self-doubt, please remember that being perfectly imperfect makes us lovable and unique…as the saying goes, we are all a work in progress. Thank you!”

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Isabella (Year 8)