What MasterChef can tell us about the Perfectionistic Style

Published on 08 Jun 2015

Dominic Gourley, Human Synergistics Australia

On Thursday last week's episode of MasterChef there was a fascinating insight into the pressure perfectionists put on themselves. The contestants had been asked to reimagine a French classic: Duck L'Orange. One of the contestants, Jessica Arnott, looked to put an Asian twist on it by doing an orange duck pancake.

During the preparation something went wrong with the pancakes, and instead Jessica decided to put together an orange duck salad instead. The salad looked great and was in fact judged one of the top dishes of the night. However, when she went to present the dish to the judges all she could focus on were the failed pancakes, instead of talking about the great salad she actually did make.


After being asked if she was ok she burst into tears. Jessica had been carrying so much pressure on herself and it just boiled over. We often talk about listening to the messages we say to ourselves. In the show, Jessica talks about it: "There is nothing negative you guys have said to me that I haven't had that plus 10 fold more in my own head."

If you want to know what perfectionists feel like - squeeze your hand into a fist and hold it. That tension and pressure is what perfectionists feel and carry around with them constantly. Rather than celebrating what they do well, they focus on the small mistakes made.

To take a line from Lorraine's blog on the Perfectionistic Style: "Perfectionistic Style is all about believing that your worth lies in what you do and how you do it. The challenge is to reframe this into a sense of worth that comes form who you are, not what you do."