Saurav Learnt That Perfection Isn’t Always the Best Approach

5 minutes

If you ever Google the phrase “PhD problems” and open any of the results, one common point that you’ll find being listed is that of “feeling stuck”.

For Saurav, 36, this problem has been the bane of his happiness.

I have been trying to finish my PhD thesis. For some reason, I’m unable to finish it on time. So it has dragged on for a long time now.

Saurav has been employed as a lecturer with one of the country’s top law schools for a while now. He finds himself unaffected when it comes to his professional work.

He has been unable to complete his PhD work for many years

“I find that with my office work, I’m quite efficient and feel quite motivated. But when I sit down to write my thesis, I make very little progress.”

Saurav tried everything, including working over holidays and weekends but to no avail. All this affected him emotionally too. His self-esteem and self-confidence were badly hit.

“I became very pessimistic about my abilities to work on things. I would feel this constant nagging thought in my head – “I’ll not be able to do it” “

Saurav would often find himself stress-eating. He found that his energy levels were going down and he also gained weight.

He somewhat understood why he hadn’t been able to make progress too.

“I wanted everything I was working on to be perfect. I was never satisfied with the progress that I had made. For this reason, I would be stuck at the same place for a long time.”

He goes into further details –

“Instead of just finishing my thesis, I wanted it to be something extraordinary. Every line I wrote, I would keep revising. When I was unable to achieve these standards, I felt full of negativity. I thought that I’m not worth it and that I won’t do well in life.”

His perfectionism was only slowing him down

With so much frustration and anguish in his mind Saurav finally decided to approach YourDOST for support.

“I found YourDOST to be really easy to use. You can login, you can chat anytime, you can explore whom to connect with.”

He connected with Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Ms. Sudha Ananth and thus started his journey of self-improvement. To dig into and identify the precise problems that Saurav was struggling with, they started with his childhood and got some really good insights from that.

“Since I was a child, I was under a lot of pressure from my parents to do well academically. That made me very negative, very pessimistic in my outlook. Basically, I would never celebrate even if I would succeed. I would just think about how I could’ve done better.”

She also taught him various breathing exercises as well as PMR to help him focus better. According to Saurav, he has noticed two main changes in his thinking thanks to counseling:

1. He should not aim for perfection.

If I have made some achievement, I should celebrate instead of just ignoring it

He further adds

“Whatever, you have in life, cherish it; and if you don’t have something, there’s nothing you can do about it. You should try to find ways to achieve what is possible for you rather than running after perfection.”

2. He has come to accept his past.

Whatever time I’ve lost, whatever I could not achieve, I should not lament about that. This has been a difficult step for me. I’m trying to accept whatever happened in my past and not regret it.

Saurav has indeed changed his outlook towards life. He and Sudha continue to work on helping him focus better on his thesis and make some progress there.

He and Sudha continue to work together

We are confident that Saurav will reach his goal very soon and are privileged to be a part of this journey of his.

We asked him why others who might be in the same boat as him often don’t take that essential step of seeking help. This is what he had to say –

Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to talk about whatever you’re going through. But it’s even more important to live life in a better way. If you can find someone to talk to, to speak with freely about your problems, that is very useful.

Are you someone who has gone through a difficult phase and emerged stronger and better, with some professional help? Share your story with us to encourage thousands of others who might be struggling. Click here to submit your story.

Saurav’s Warrior Tips:
1. Don’t be a perfectionist
2. Celebrate every small achievement
3. It might be uncomfortable to open up to a counselor. But it’s even more important to live life in a better way

Team YourDOST

YourDOST is an Online Emotional Wellness Coach. Through YourDOST anyone can Sign Up and anonymously seek advice and guidance from Counsellors, Psychologists, Special Friends, Mentors and other experienced individuals.