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Confessions of a paranoid, antisocial, perfectionist blogger

Posted by Ken Klaus on January 19, 2009


fear-turtle1

Perfectionist – one who has a propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet an extremely high standard.

 

Paranoia – extreme, irrational distrust of others.

 

Antisocial – unwilling or unable to associate normally with other people.

 

I have yet to fully embrace the mainstream social networking revolution.  By mainstream I mean the average individual who blogs for work, to earn a living, or just for the simple pleasure of writing.  I do not mean the people who share every moment of their lives through word and picture.  Frankly, you people scare me.  Many of my colleagues have already jumped into the deep end of this pool where they gently and persistently call to me: ‘Come on in, the water’s fine’.  For a time I took comfort, and not a little snarky pleasure, with others who embraced the antisocial lifestyle, like Kathi.  But as I’ve watched our numbers diminish over the past year – even Kathi now has a Facebook page – I wondered why I was still so hesitant to dive-in and join the fun.

 

The truth is I very much want to be all in – a fully vested and contributing member of our virtual community; but I’m afraid and my natural response to fear is to move away from and not toward other people.  Now I don’t think my paranoia and antisocial tendencies are engrained personality flaws – though I have my fair share of these as well – rather I’ve come to see them as a by-product of the perfectionist rooted to the core of my being.  And believe me when I say this is way more than a mere tendency.  It’s part of my DNA.  This means that no matter how trivial the task I almost always create an unreasonably high set of standards and as a consequence end up feeling disappointed and ashamed when I fail to measure up.  So when I post a blog or a comment and later find a typo or misspelled word I feel every bit as bad about myself as when I make a mess of a relationship or fall short of my performance goals at work.  With perfectionism there is no sense of proportionality – every failure, real or perceived, leads to the same crushing sense of defeat.  That’s when the paranoia begins to seep into my consciousness – “they’re laughing at you” – which then leads to antisocial behaviors like lurking.

 

Rationally I understand that I am mostly successful at the things I do and that generally I am a competent employee, friend, and blogger.  But I also understand that I cannot simply get over being a perfectionist.  I have to learn to live with it and accept that I am going to make mistakes.  This won’t be easy, but I’m committed to doing better and commitment requires a plan – and a good plan needs a set of goals.  So to that end I’m setting the following goals for myself:

 

1.   I will not give in to fear or isolation.  Solitude is okay, monasticism is not. 

2.    I will participate, not just lurk, in our online community. 

3.    I will create a Facebook account.  Understanding that I may have to spend a few weeks chanting my first goal before I’m actually ready to do this.

4.    I will not feel bad, anguish, or obsess over the small mistakes that are simply a part of being human, like typos, spelling errors, grammatical gaffes, forgetting to buy half-and-half, misplacing my keys, or counting that box of Raisinets as part or all of my five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

 

It’s an exciting time to be working in talent management and the wonderful, quirky, sometimes scary, world of social networking holds almost endless possibilities.  So to all the other paranoid, antisocial, perfectionists lurking in the shadows, I too say, “Come on in and join the conversation, the water and the people are exceptionally fine.”

 

Peace

 

12 Responses to “Confessions of a paranoid, antisocial, perfectionist blogger”

  1. Marcie Van Houten said

    Ken– we are surprisingly similar in this sense of perfectionism towards spelling errors, gramatical errors and sometimes just plain misunderstandings. It’s so darn public. I often reread my own posts and catch things. And what I can fix, I do. I’ve often wished I could edit comments I’ve left.

  2. I think we all wish we can go back in and fix some of the mistakes we have made, but that won’t happen.So we need to take our time when we write something.

    David Fanshaw
    Free Dating Online
    http://www.v3Dates.com

  3. Meg Bear said

    I have zero perfectionist qualities. In kindergarten I was given advice to SLOW DOWN and quit making so many mistakes. I’m now [ahem] a few years from age 5 and still groan when I re-read almost all my communications as there are typos everywhere. I rationalize them away as “not important” or “certainly not as important as missing the chance to join the conversation”.

    I do know that the reality is somewhere in the middle. Typos do matter, but joining the conversation and allowing yourself to have flaws in the process, matters as well. Oh, and spam about my kids is even more important than that!

    I’m THRILLED to see you challenge your fears, I’m getting ready to do the same shortly. Stay tuned.

  4. All right Ken, I just searched for you on Facebook and I found some guy with no picture and no friends. Is that you? 😉

    I actually like Facebook now that I have turned off all those pesky notifications. (the jury is still out on Twitter, FYI. I had to take a break from that.)

    Updating your Facebook status is way easier than writing a whole blog. This is the reason my blogging has trailed off….I only usually have about one sentence’s worth of information to share at any given time.

  5. Ken Klaus said

    David, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Taking some extra time to write and proofread our work is great advice.

  6. Amy Wilson said

    Dear Ken,
    I love your perfect posts. Just so you know, I’d love them if they were imperfect too.
    Hoping for more,
    Amy

  7. Ken Klaus said

    Meg, I envy you more than I can say! =) You’ve definitely found the right balance by remembering that our conversation and community are less about great prose, and more about getting to know great people. Thanks for keeping me on track!

  8. Ken Klaus said

    Kathi, this imposter is certainly not me! You know I would have my picture plastered all over my landing page! NOT! =) I haven’t gotten my Facebook account setup, but it’s on the top of my to-do list. You’ll have to give me a tutorial when I’m finished, ’cause I’m guessing I’ll want those pesky notifications switched-off as well. -Cheers

  9. Ken Klaus said

    Amy, you are my muse. Now if I could only convince my manager of how much my blogging, er I mean my performance would improve if I were surrounded by inspiration all the time, say in Paris or Tuscany! =) I promise to keep writing, mistakes and all. -Ken

  10. […] Confessions of a paranoid, antisocial, perfectionist blogger […]

  11. Vivian Wong said

    Ken – Thank you for confessing your fears – it makes you more human like the “rest of us”🙂. Hats off to you for conquering your fears in a public forum – it sure takes a lot of courage and you are doing great!! I can’t tell you how much I love reading your blogs and your insightful notes on Facebook – keep them coming as I am now addicted to your updates!

  12. I’m a paranoid antisocial pefectionist as well. I love your posts:)

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