Perfectionism is the least appreciated facet of giftedness. It is usually perceived as a sign of emotional disturbance that needs to be cured. Yet it is an inevitable part of the experience of being gifted for several reasons; (1) it is an abstract concept accessible to those who are high in abstract reasoning; (2) it is a function of asynchronous development - gifted children set standards according to their mental rather than physical age; (3) they also set standards appropriate for their older friends; (4) with greater capacity for forethought, gifted children are more often successful and come to expect success; (5) when school work is easy, the only challenge is to accomplish it perfectly; and (6) it is a distortion of the desire for self-perfection, a positive evolutionary drive. Perfectionism needs to be appreciated as a two-edged sword that has the potential for propelling an individual toward unparalleled greatness or plummeting one into despair. The secret to harnessing its energy is learning how to set priorities. Hints for coping with perfectionism in oneself and in gifted children are provided.
Silverman, L. K. (1999). Perfectionism. Gifted Educational International, 13, 216-225.
“Perfectionism,” TPD Archive , accessed December 13, 2018, http://christianewells.com/items/show/147.