Why the Pursuit of Perfection is Bad for Your Health | How To Academy

Mon, 5 June 2023

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm GMT

Why the Pursuit of Perfection is Bad for Your Health

Thomas Curran

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Society places impossible pressures on each and every one of us to be perfect. How can we resist and preserve our mental health? LSE behavioural scientist Thomas Curran joins us with answers.

Today, burnout, anxiety and depression are at record levels. Society continually broadcasts the need to want more, and the overbearing weight of modern culture has smothered us with the impossible pressures to be perfect.

Drawing upon extensive scientific and sociological research, the LSE’s Thomas Curran joins us to explore how the perfection trap affects us – and what we can do about it.

He will examine the paradoxical effects of perfectionism on performance, mental health, parenting, relationships and social inequality, and show what we can do as individuals to resist the pressure to be perfect. He will argue that perfectionism is the defining psychology of our economic system – not an individual affliction – and call for both a mindset shift and broader, societal change.

Insightful and practical, this talk will reveal how we can create a culture that celebrates the joys of imperfection, and move past the need to be perfect in our own personal and professional lives.

Praise for Thomas Curran’s The Perfection Trap:

‘A powerful, poignant book on the impossibly high expectations that stand in the way of happiness, health, and success. If you’ve ever found yourself fearing failure, ruminating about mistakes, or just feeling that you aren’t good enough, this is a must read.’ – Adam Grant, bestselling author of Think Again

‘A fascinating and panoramic analysis of perfectionism in modern capitalist societies’ – Grace Blakeley

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Thomas Curran

Behavioural Scientist, LSE

Thomas Curran is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. With over a decade of experience, Curran is a world-leading expert on perfectionism. He has written for the Harvard Business Review, was featured in the New Scientist, and his work has been covered by publications including the Guardian, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, and Ariana Huffington’s ‘Thrive Global’ campaign. In 2018, he gave a TEDMED talk entitled ‘Our Dangerous Obsession with Perfectionism is Getting Worse’, which has over 3 million views.