The Art of Underdoing It

If you’re looking to score points during a job interview, describe yourself as a “recovering perfectionist.” It lets people know you’re a high-functioning realist, rather than a high-functioning head case. I’ve been in recovery for about five years and I think it’s going smashingly. However, perfectionism is a hard habit to kick and five years is not a lot of time to undo a quarter lifetime of bad habits. Residual hangers-on will always remind me of the daily struggle I face to be less anal.

As a sheer test of willpower, I’ll challenge myself to clean just one room at a time. What usually happens is, I’ll get a taste of the satisfaction that comes with cleaning the kitchen, then binge clean for the next two hours in hot pursuit of every last strand of cat hair.

In more extreme cases, it manifests itself in the form of an accidental overdose – of vitamins. I’m currently coming down from a minor bout of biotin poisoning. Yes, that’s a very real thing. It’s similar to an allergy, only self-inflicted. I started taking the supplement about a year ago with the intention of growing my already long hair into mermaid-length hair. Things were going well for a while; my stylist even noted that my hair felt thicker than normal. So I got greedy and increased my daily dosage hoping to maximize results. Suddenly, I started getting really dizzy every time I’d stand up or bend over. Then the glands in my neck became uncomfortably swollen. I started to feel nauseous and tired all the time. This isn’t normal behavior so I searched for possible causes online. After a futile attempt at procuring an Internet diagnoses, I started to think back to what changed in my routine and the biotin supplement was the only thing.After abstaining from taking the supplement for a few days, my symptoms cleared up completely. WebMD confirmed this was a classic case of too much of a (seemingly) good thing.

I take these opportunities to learn from my mistakes and remind myself there is an art to underdoing things. I now understand the risk of a potentially fatal lung infection is not worth the pursuit of perfectly long mermaid hair. Perfectionism can be evil like that.

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Humankind, Life

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