Saturday, December 15, 2007

Perfection vs Performance Oriented People

"..People can be roughly divided into two categories that she called perfection-oriented and performance-oriented.

The people in the category perfection-oriented have a natural intellectual curiosity. They are constantly searching for better ways of doing things, new methods, new tools. They search for perfection, but they take pleasure in the search itself, knowing perfectly well that perfection can not be accomplished. To the people in this category, failure is a normal part of the strive for perfection. In fact, failure gives a deeper understanding of why a particular path was unsuccessful, making it possible to avoid similar paths in the future.

The people in the category performance-oriented on the contrary, do not at all strive for perfection. Instead they have a need to achieve performance immediately. Such performance leaves no time for intellectual curiosity. Instead, techniques already known to them must be applied to solve problems. To these people, failure is a disaster whose sole feature is to harm instant performance. Similarly, learning represents the possibility of failure and must thus be avoided if possible. To the people in this category, knowledge in other people also represents a threat. As long as everybody around them use tools, techniques, and methods that they themselves know, they can count on outperforming these other people. But when the people around them start learning different, perhaps better, ways, they must defend themselves. Other people having other knowledge might require learning to keep up with performance, and learning, as we pointed out, increases the risk of failure. One possibility for these people is to discredit other people's knowledge. If done well, it would eliminate the need for the extra effort to learn, which would fit very well with their objectives..."

see the rest of The Psychology of Learning article