©3-22-14 by Donna Cunningham MSW
Pernicious perfectionism—doesn’t that have a ring to it? It rings, all right, but not the kind of bell you want to hear in the midst of trying to present your work to the world in a positive light. More like a warning bell, perhaps, or a closing bell. The Miriam Webster Dictionary defines pernicious as destructive or deadly, but often in a covert way that is not readily observed.
One of the more grating qualities of transiting Pluto in perfectionistic Capricorn that I notice often is a sort of snobbish—no, wait, I mean snotty—perfectionism and rush to judgment. If something a person does or offers isn’t a state-of-the-art in presentation or operation, it’s summarily dismissed without trying to absorb the material.
It’s like attending to the Oscars in a dress that’s off the rack because you can’t afford a designer dress, and being snubbed, despite the fact that you’ve turned in a brilliant performance that got you nominated. And then Joan Rivers mocks you on Fashion Police.
I guess that transit is the reason I spent the last two and half months updating all my e-books and giving them killer covers. I don’t want my work judged because of the cover, and, believe me, readers do that today. I’ve illustrated this post —well, call it a gripe session—with examples of my new covers. (I found some of the cover art–including the one on the left–on a site called Fotolia.com, very reasonable and high quality pictures.)
My next big project is a complete makeover of my publications website, which needs to be modernized and to get rid of pages about services I no longer offer. That’s why you haven’t seen much of me, Readers, because I’m trying to outrun the pernicious perfectionism of Pluto in Capricorn.
I think a great many of us are afflicted with pernicious perfectionism these days, both on the receiving and dishing out ends. We judge and are judged by the way we dress and look and the way our work looks rather than on the quality. Being dismissed because of these superficial qualities is discouraging to those of us who are trying so hard to make something of ourselves, to somehow make this a better world. Much of the time, they won’t cut you any slack.
We all have to step our performance up a notch or three to keep up with the times, especially things on the web that expose our work to a wider audience who will never see us in person if our digital presence isn’t a state-of-the-art. I don’t know about you, but that’s a reality that’sdiscouraging, if not outright disheartening.
But you know what? Stepping our performance up a few notches and preparing ourselves to meet new needs of our target audience is a good thing, albeit stressful. Life is so very much more complicated now, and if we want to be relevant and helpful, we need to be informed about what’s going on in the world and in people’s lives.
Hey, Pluto is supposed to be about transformation, isn’t it? (With this transit, though, it seems to be more about GO BIG OR GO HOME.)
What about you, Readers? How has pernicious perfectionism affected your work or your personal life? Do you find yourself growing more perfectionistic and judgmental? Tell us about the relevant transits and what you’re noticing in the comment section underneath this post.
See a follow-up article here: Positive Perfectionism versus Pernicious Perfectionism
Read about my books here: My Books.