Perfectionism & Creativity

Does perfectionism kill creativity? All of us know someone who is obsessive about hygiene, organizing stuff or keeping everything in an orderly fashion. They are disturbed even at the slightest change in something’s orientation- that monitor has to be ninety degrees to the table and the books have to stand at attention on the shelf. Does this OCD of sorts kill creativity or foster it? Not only a cleanliness OCD, does living a disciplined, austere life which involves following the same routine everyday strangle creativity? The answer is definitely evasive but not far fetched.

Consider the person with OCD, a creature of habit, whose routine has been fixed for a long time. He/she does not deviate much from the said routine, thereby leading a bland life without much room for novelty. Friends made an impromptu plan? Can’t join in, because it disrupts their routine. He/she spends their life obsessing over petty things, even nitpicking, and remain perpetually stressed. A standoffish existence, which is too structured and rigid, leads to an existential angst of sorts. A sure killer of creativity. Now, consider another person, who adheres to YOLO and lives life on impulse everyday, making decisions without a prior thought. They swim along with the tide, succumbing to the siren song of every idea- theirs or others’. Mr/Ms non-chalant can’t find their keys, wallet, phone, etc. and spend the day scouring the house for them. It would be insane to think that a cluttered existence, like the one in question, leaves room for being creative solely because of lack of perfectionism. The answer to the question- “To be or not to be (perfect)?”- lies in leading a semi structured life. One that is marked by routine, but gives leeway to new activities. One that is organized, but flexible. One that is not stagnant, but nurtures creativity.

Discipline gives us the freedom to be creative, having paid our bills on time and without having to worry about trivialities like daily chores. Perfection, in the right amount, never hurt anyone.

Written on October 22, 2021