What drives the new age of perfectionism?

Standards of perfectionism have substantially risen since 1980. Particularly socially-prescribed perfectionism; the idea that one believes that others demand perfection of them.

Psychologist Thomas Current looked into the drivers that led to this excessive pressure to succeed in today’s society. On the one hand, he mentions a competitive education system and our knowledge-based economy. On the other hand, social media and consumer capitalism exacerbate perfectionism by promoting unattainable standards and exploiting insecurities for profit.

At TrendsActive we see that this tendency to achieve the impossible has emerged firstly in Millenials. Growing up in small families in combination with the rise of social media, they were used to self-express and explore their unique identities, as that’s how you got likes. But these online worlds also created a competitive arena of social comparison, one where you’re competing with the entire world. And that’s where it becomes troublesome as people are wired to upward social comparison. Meaning, we tend to measure ourselves with people that are doing something better than us, instead of the other way around. This leads to reduced self-esteem and the idea that everybody is better than you, further fostering an unrealistic view of what is achievable.

Perfectionism is not an individual problem, but a communal one. Although showing people what they currently lack has proven to be an effective way to sell something, some brands seem to take responsibility to counter the new age of perfectionism. See how Asics achieved this here.