Home > Article > Inside the Minds of the Perfectionists – WSJ.com

Inside the Minds of the Perfectionists – WSJ.com

Christine Tsien Silvers says perfectionism runs in her family. Her mother, a detail-oriented computer scientist, emigrated from China to Minnesota and was “always taking classes to get a better job.”

She earned a Ph.D. from MIT and an M.D. from Harvard. “But I also wanted to be the best mother possible,” says Dr. Silvers, so she worked part-time, not full-time, emergency-room shifts to maximize her time with her children, ages 3, 5 and 8.

Dr. Silvers, 42, now works from home in Marshfield, Mass., as the chief medical officer of a start-up company using her MIT dissertation to create mobile health monitors. She often gets up in the middle of the night “to do the work part of the work-life balance,” she says. Still, she frets about everything she hasn’t done, including organizing her house. “The list goes on and on, but I don’t want to do a sloppy job on any of them.”

Meanwhile, she is already seeing signs of perfectionism in her 5-year old son. “He loves to draw but he’ll cry and cry if he thinks he’s put a line in the wrong place,” Dr. Silvers says.

Where does such perfectionism come from? Experts have long blamed parents who overemphasized achievement or made their love conditional on meeting certain goals. But recent research suggests that the genes that parents pass along may play an ever bigger role.

via Inside the Minds of the Perfectionists – WSJ.com.

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